Tuesday, May 1. Psalms 64 – 66

Some of the Psalms are hymns of personal contrition, an individual cries out to God because of his sin and asks for rescue.

But there are Psalms that are communal in their contrition.  In other words, the community of faith joins together in a hymn to confess sin and ask for God’s forgiveness on the community.  Psalm 65 is just such a hymn.

I doubt that there is enough unity in any community to bring us together to beseech God because of our failings.  Walter Brueggemann, Professor of Old Testament, writes: “The problem is that the public imagination is so filled with pride, self-serving complacency, and moral numbness that we could hardly imagine an act of public repentance or acknowledgment of forgiveness, for to ask for and receive forgiveness is to be vulnerable.”

But the Church, as local congregations, should be just such communities; they feel deeply the alienation from God sin causes us as a people.

Notice verses 1 – 5 and the focus on God: “Praise awaits you.  To you our vows will be fulfilled” and on he goes.  It is as if the writer is distinguishing his god from all others – and indeed he does.  The God of the psalmist, the God of his community, is the God of creation who so orders everything that one flows into another till the whole benefit all (verse 6 and following).

This is the God who forgives, and the one to whom we address our petitions.  If you believe your reality came into being by disordered chance, it will be hard to find anyone great enough to forgive you, or lift your burden.  When no one is greater than you or the community, we are back to pride, and bereft of forgiveness.