Psalms for the Sunday of Palms
Here is an old Religious Education trick: If you want to find the Book of Psalms...open the Bible right to the “center” and you will find them. But it’s also true... that you will also find there, the true center of the heart of God in word and prayer!
As we all have traveled through the horrific events of this past week, I thought how grateful I was that Sandy and I had chosen to use the psalms as our theme for this Sunday...how the psalms really capture for me the deep longings, the lamentation cries of, “How long O Lord, how long?”... but also, just as passionately, how the psalms capture the exquisite wonder, awe and mystery of God’s clear presence, here all around us, in the faces of our beloved ones, our community and our natural world.
The Psalms capture, like no other medium, and very much like poetry, the heart, the center and depth of the soul’s spirit....and its truest emotions.
In today’s liturgy, we began with Psalm 15... using prayer practices like lectio divina, I invite us all to hear again this same psalm, in the words of, and interpreted by, Stephen Mitchell: [read p.7 from “A Book of Psalms”]
And again, hear another interpretation of the psalm we read for our Gospel, Psalm 64. It was written, based on Psalm 64, by a woman trying to deal with a loved one under the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease: [read p. 25 Weavings issue Volume VI, Number 5, 1991]
So, in keeping with this lectio divina style: I invite you to share:
How has your heart been touched by words or phrases that you have heard in these psalms tonight?
What deep places within your soul feel tugged or prodded by them...and in what ways?
And, how might the psalms be useful to you in your prayer life and daily routines?
Opening Blessing: Psalm 15
O Beloved, You invite us to rest in the abode of your Heart
to forgive our weaknesses and renew our love.
Who will respond with hearts opened wide to Love?
Those who walk with integrity are in harmony with your Word,
and sing the heart’s song;
Whose tongues speak truth judging not others
And seeking only the good;
Whose eyes behold not the outer garments of the body,
but see within the inner robe of Love;
Whose own weaknesses are acknowledged
and brought to light in prayer;
Those who dwell in the Heart of Love,
who act justly, with integrity,
will sing the Songs of Joy!
Their family, friends and, indeed, the world
will be blessed by their love.
First Reading: Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of the Creator;
the firmament proclaims the handiwork of love.
Day to day speech pours forth
and night to night knowledge is revealed.
There is no speech nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
Yet does their music resound through all the earth,
and their words echo to the ends of the world.
In them a tent for the sun is set,
which is like a bride and groom
on their wedding night as they sing love’s song
and celebrate the dance of life.
Its rising is in eternity, and its circuit to infinity;
Nothing is hidden from the sunlight.
The law of Love is perfect, reviving the soul;
The testimony of Love is sure, making wise the simple;
The precepts of Love are right, rejoicing the heart;
The authority of Love is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The spirit of Love is glorious, enduring forever;
The rites of Love are true, awakening compassion.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them are the loving guided;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own weaknesses?
Cleanse me, O Love, from all my hidden faults.
Keep me from boldly acting in error; let my fears and illusions
not have dominion over me!
Then shall I become a beneficial presence,
freely and fully surrendered to your Love.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
find favor in your Heart,
O my Beloved, my strength and my joy!
Gospel: Psalm 64
O You who hear all hearts, hear my plea;
preserve my life when fears beset me,
when the pangs of jealousy pierce
like a two-edged sword,
When doubts rise up and leave me trembling;
As powerful as arrows they strike the heart,
building armored walls that keep Love at bay.
They cling like parasites upon their host,
murmuring secretly in the darkness,
“Who can see us? Who can cast us out?
We have hidden ourselves well,
We will hold strong.”
For our inward minds and hearts are deep!
Yet the Beloved will root them out with Love;
they will be loosened suddenly.
Because of their insecurity,
they will run and falter;
and all who see new life arise will wonder.
Then the peoples will be in awe;
they will tell of all the Beloved has done,
and ponder the power of Love.
Let those who have awakened rejoice in the Beloved,
let them celebrate with glad hearts!
Let all who know Love give witness to our birthright!
Come, all you who have wandered far from the path,
who have separated yourselves from Love;
A banquet is prepared for you in the heart’s Secret Room.
There you will find the way Home;
a welcome ever awaits you!
Even as you acknowledge the times you have erred,
the forgiveness of the Beloved will envelop you.
Call upon the Beloved when fear arises,
when you feel overwhelmed;
The Eternal Listener will heed your cry;
you will find strength to face the shadows.
Befriend all that is within you,
discover the Sacred Altar within your heart.
Then will abundant blessings enter your home;
and you will welcome the Divine Guest
who is ever with you. You are never alone!
ALL: Doxology Sung Psalm:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him all creatures here below
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Praise the Beloved!
Praises be to You in earth’s sanctuary;
praises be to You in the mighty firmament!
Praise the mighty works of Love!
Praise the glory and extol the
greatness of Love Divine!
Give praise with trumpets;
give praise with lute and harp!
Give praise with timbrel and dance;
give praise with strings and reed!
Give praise with booming drums;
give praise with crashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes
praise the Beloved with their lives!
May it be so now and forever!
An Emmaus Blessing for Jacqueline and David
as you leave on your journey to travel again The Camino
Now that your bags are (mostly) packed
and your feet are itching to begin;
remember to pack our smiling faces
and hands full of blessings with you.
You have traveled (some of) these roads before;
but now return to see and feel them
with fresh eyes, bolstered bodies
and renewed spirits.
Take your time; “take” your time;
and capture the moments of this journey
with high definition clarity
and your souls deep ah ha’s!
May the roads of the day
be soft upon your feet.
May the star-filled nights
provide you with dreams refueling energies.
May those you meet along the way
help your eyes to see... that every road... is Emmaus.
God’s Presence walks with you...
with every step,
every step...every step!