Monday, February 1, 2021

Tuesday prior to Epiphany 5


Psalm 147:1–11—Psalm 147 is the second of five “Alleluia” hymns that close the Psalter. Each of the last five psalms starts and ends with the imperative, “Praise the Lord!” (Hebrew, ‘halelu’; Greek, ‘alleluia’).

Together, these psalms put a final exclamation point on the book that the Jewish community calls, “Praises.” In other words, the Psalter closes with an extended call to praise that is directed at the Psalter’s audience. More on this call to praise below.

The psalm itself conforms to the standard pattern of the hymn of praise. The psalm has three stanzas (verses 1-6, 7-11, 12-20), each of which opens with a “call to praise” and then continues by recounting “reasons for praise.”

What should be noted about the call to praise is that it, quite literally, calls for a response. The audience is called to open our mouths, lift up our voices, and join in the psalmist’s joyous song. The fact that the book of Psalms ends with five psalms that include calls to praise, and with a final psalm (150) that is nothing but an extended call to praise, means that the audience enjoined to take up the songs that we have learned from the Psalter, and to sing those songs out in the world.[1]

This is a song of praise to the greatness of the Lord, who manifests His greatness not just in mighty works, such as determining the number of stars, and giving them all their names, but especially because of His steadfast love which causes Him to heal the brokenhearted and lift up the humble. For this reason, it is no chore to sing praises to Him, but it is good to sing praises to our God, for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

Collect for Psalm 147: God our Father, great builder of the heavenly Jerusalem, you know the number of the stars and call each of them by name. Heal hearts that are broken, gather those who have been scattered, and enrich us all from the plenitude of your eternal wisdom, Jesus Christ our Lord.[2]  

[2] Collect for Psalm 147, For All the Saints, A Pray book for and by the Church © 1995 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

No comments: