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YEAR B: PENTECOST
(Sunday between August 7 and August 13)
Psalm 130



Psalm 130 is a fitting psalm to accompany the story of Davidís struggle with his son, Absalom. One can only imagine the anguish and grief of David as he finds himself both confronted by the forces of his sonís army, and still bearing deep love for him. Davidís cry over his dead son (2 Sam 18:33) truly comes from Ďthe depthsí (Ps 130:1).

The lectionary writers have seen fit to include this psalm soon after its use on Pentecost 4. See the comments for that day for further discussion of Psalm 130 itself. If we imagine the words of the psalm as those of David in the circumstances of 2 Samuel 18 then some interesting questions arise.

In the psalm the writer asks if the Lord should mark iniquities, who could stand? (v. 3) they then go on to say that even given that certainty, there is forgiveness to be found in the Lord. In the light of Davidís circumstances this suggests that forgiveness and the experience of the Lordís grace, which we mentioned in relation to the Samuel reading, do not come in any simple, easy way. Forgiving, as David does for his son, and being forgiven can be still very painful, depending to a good deal on what the ramifications of our sinful deeds are. The consequences of Davidís lust for Bathsheba and murder of Uriah did not remain solely with those three characters. Innocent children died, family hatred ensued with further murder, jealousy and plotting. Davidís anguish and grief accompanied him to his death bed even as the consequences of his actions played themselves out in the lives and deaths of those closest to him.

In vv. 5-6 the psalmist speaks of waiting for the Lord. Davidís story points to the pain that can be part of that waiting. It is as if the waiting is not only for the Lord to arrive, so to speak, but for the consequences of our actions and the things necessary for forgiveness to take place, to work themselves out.

Suggestions for the use of the psalm in worship can be found in the comments on Pentecost 4

Further suggestions include the use of vv. 5-6 as a call to worship:

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning,
Let us worship God
Verse 2 could also be used as a call to prayer of confession:
Lord, hear our voice!
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of our supplications!
Verses 3-4 or vv. 7-8 could also be used in the words of assurance of forgiveness following the prayer of confession:
If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.
Hear then, Christís word of grace to us: Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.
OR
O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
Hear then, Christís word of grace to us: Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.
Old Testament reading: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

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