YEAR B: PENTECOST 16
September 20, 2009
This is another favourite psalm of the lectionary makers. It appears several times over the three year cycle and has already been read this year during the Easter season. More complete comments on the psalm in general can be found there (see Easter 7).
It is still appropriate to read the psalm on this occasion for several reasons. First, like the related Old Testament passage for this week, Proverbs 31, Psalm 1 is a wisdom poem. More accurately it is a wisdom poem that has been shaped to focus on the wisdom of giving attention to the torah, the instruction or teaching of God. The psalm speaks of the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked, the long lasting effects of the former and the futility of the latter. As Psalm 1 is related to Proverbs 31 there is a timely reminder that the practical matters of life – care for daily needs in detail and proficiency and for the needs of those around us – are part of the wisdom that is seen as righteousness. It is also a strong reminder that the needs of those for whom we have responsibility or those who are nearest to us, family and friends, require special care and concern.
Secondly, the psalm is appropriate to read in relation to Proverbs 31 because it reminds us of what is at the heart of all wisdom – a faithful pursuit of the way of God in the world. This is especially important to acknowledge in relation to those things which we might refer to as ‘worldly wisdom’, i.e. those concerned with how we live and work in the world at large on a daily basis, even the most mundane of tasks. This is not an invitation to a zealous approach to faith that seeks vainly to publicly proclaim our praise of God at every opportunity. Rather it calls for a deep understanding and confidence in faith whereby we perceive that all our living, even those tasks which are often overlooked or which are regarded as routine, are part of our praise of God. Indeed, our daily living should be our praise as one well known benediction puts it.
Suggestions for the use of the psalm in worship can be found at Easter 7.
Old Testament reading: Proverbs 31:10-31
Return to OT Lectionary Reading