Narrative Lectionary Psalms Week 2
Additional Resources for Study & Proclamation
Psalm 69:1-16 (Matthew 7:7-11)
Keeping Your Head Above Water
Furthering the Power of God’s Story – Narrative Lectionary Commentary
by Rev. Stefanie Fauth
Words get remade every other year. It used to go by the decade, or even by the century. Now, our words can morph and change daily thanks to social media and people trying to get the creative edge. Now, we must be careful before we speak a word casually, just in case it got a late-in-the-week makeover.
Psalm 69 reminds us that some phrases are timeless.
It still means just the same “to be under water” — or up to your neck in water — as it did at the time the Psalmist coined this particular hymn of lament.
We still understand the idea of being surrounded by water. The idea of sinking or watching the water rise to our necks evokes a visceral reaction, even when we know the writer is simply speaking metaphorically.
When you are in the midst of those sinking in life moments, it’s easy to think that the whole world is against you. The writer of this psalm describes his or her pain with such hyperbole we wonder whether they were just a teenager when they penned the passage.
We can hardly judge. Even if we don’t voice it, as adults we have all felt such deep despair some time or another.
Some might ask, “What is the point of complaining? Things are bad, but they’ll get better, they always do. Does complaining really help?”
Some believers have a tendency to think that vocalizing any feeling other than complete contentedness and trust in the Lord will get them kicked off the team. But these words are affirmation that not only are we allowed to speak our worst fears and disappointments aloud, God still listens. After all, scripture is filled with whiners and complainers and their conversations with the Almighty.
We sometimes avoid those who complain. Continually listening to negativity can be taxing. Ironically, talking through problems is actually the best therapy there is. After all, talk therapy still serves as the primary vehicle through which psychotherapists treat their patients.
We need to share our problems in a safe place. We cannot just empty our problems on anyone walking by. You must find someone who can hear your woes and not pass judgment or try to fix things; usually that response only makes you feel worse. Finding someone you trust like a good therapist or a trusted spiritual counselor is essential to begin to address the pain honestly.
As you can imagine, the psalmist had no therapist. Maybe the writer had no equal with whom they could share all the woes of sinking in life. Who better to share your woes with than your creator?
You can openly speak your woes with whom you choose, but the point is sharing our woes with someone we trust can have a truly positive impact. Psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith says, “Give your pain a voice, and let someone listen. You will be amazed at how much weight will be lifted off your shoulders.”
The disorientation of the flood can easily set us off balance. Honestly sharing our discomfort may not necessarily make the floodwaters subside, but it will at least make us able to bear life’s challenges together, with God and with each other.
Quick Jump Menu
The following links and resources are not produced or maintained by Clergy Stuff. However, at the time of this posting, the links were active and considered to be good source material for proclamation for the text for this week. Please scroll down or click on the quick jump menu you find below. For more free worship resources & planning materials, please visit RCL Worship Resources, a sister-site of Clergy Stuff.
Historical Exegetical Resources
Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871)
Commentary on Psalm 69 by Matthew Henry,
Would Jesus Approve of Modern Christianity? by Wes McAdams, Radically Christian
A Debate Between an Atheist and a Christian has a Quite Surprising Result, by Joseph Lamour, Upworthy
Life is Tough: Overcoming Hardship and Failure, Dr. Kathy Seifert, Psychology Today
The Voices in my Head, a TED talk by Eleanor Longden
Empathy, an illustrated portion of a TED talk by Brene Brown
A Good Read
Reflections on God
by Mark Sperry
Relationships are hard. Many people struggle with issues of betrayal, disrespect, vulnerability, deceit, shame and guilt. Its difficult enough to trust family and friends, but how do you maintain a healthy relationship with God. David is a good example of the struggle to stay honest and respectful to God. When his life seemed out of control where did he go? David reveals his inner feelings to God in his Psalms. He exercised a thankful heart as he honestly revealed himself. The depth of emotions in his songs appeal to everyone who struggles with a personal relationship to the Creator. My personal meditations on Psalms stimulated me to write down my feelings in a similar way. This book of 75 poems reveals one man's struggle to stay honest and grateful. It is my wish that others understand they are not alone. God is listening for honest hearts to confess their struggles and ask for help. That's what David did. Do whatever it takes to find a way to be honest with God. He can turn your pain into blessing
Additional Praise Music/Hymnody/Cool Videos/Kids Message/ETC
Daily Devotional Feed
Free Dramatic Reading For This Text (NRSV)
Readers: Reader, Congregation
Reader: Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
Congregation: I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
Reader: I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
Congregation: I am weary with my crying;
my throat is parched.
Reader: My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
Congregation: More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
many are those who would destroy me,
my enemies who accuse me falsely.
Reader: What I did not steal
must I now restore?
Congregation: O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
Reader: Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me,
Congregation: O Lord God of hosts;
do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me,
Reader: O God of Israel.
Congregation: It is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that shame has covered my face.
Reader: I have become a stranger to my kindred,
an alien to my mother’s children.
Congregation: It is zeal for your house that has consumed me;
the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
Reader: When I humbled my soul with fasting,
they insulted me for doing so.
Congregation: When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
Reader: I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.
Congregation: But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
Reader: At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.
Congregation: With your faithful help rescue me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
Reader: Do not let the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the Pit close its mouth over me.
Congregation: Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.