YEAR B: EPIPHANY 8
(Sunday between February 25 and February 29)
Psalm 103:1-13, 22
Psalm 103 is designated another psalm of David with Psalm 104 possibly a continuation. The Jewish commentary Midrash Tehillim (Midrash of the Psalms) regards them as one with Psalm 104 starting as its predecessor concludes. The psalmist blesses Yahweh who forgives and redeems and who satisfies as long as we live (Ps 103:2-5). Such vindication has been known since Moses (v. 7). While Yahweh can be angry he is slow to become so and his compassion and graciousness overwhelm his anger (vv. 8-10); so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him (v. 11). Yahweh remembers the fragility of humankind (vv. 14-18; cf. 90:3) but this serves only to emphasize that his steadfast love extends to all generations of those who keep covenant and remember Yahweh’s commandments (vv. 17-18), a reference to the Mosaic covenant. The psalmist ends the psalm with another blessing on Yahweh who rules all creatures (vv. 19-22).
Suggestions for the use of the psalm in worship
Several sections of the psalm would be good to introduce the declaration of forgiveness after prayers of confession. These include: vv. 1-5 (with possibly some modification to the statement of ‘restoration of youth’ in v. 5 especially if the congregation is older); vv. 8-12; and vv. 13-18.
Verse 6 would also serve as a fine response by the congregation to the sections of the prayers of the people.
Old Testament reading: Hosea 2:14-20
Return to OT Lectionary Readings contents page