Friday, October 08, 2021

Pentecost 20B

This Week in the RCL

For the responsive psalm this week, the Revised Common Lectionary appoints only verses 12-17—less than half of Psalm 90. Though there's no reason not to read or chant all seventeen verses during worship, this is one of those times I wonder why they didn't suggest the entire psalm; after all, it's short and doesn't include anything that would require serious explanation. Because it's very familiar and because Isaac Watts' famous hymn paraphrase "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" closely follows the psalm text, instead of writing about one of Sunday's scriptures I'm blogging the late Pastor Eugene Peterson's particularly delightful translation in The Message followed by the hymn.

Psalm 90

1God, it seems you've been our home forever;
   long before the mountains were born,
2Long before you brought earth itself to birth,
   from "once upon a time" to "kingdom come"—you are God.

3So don't return us to mud, saying,
   "Back to where you came from!"
4Patience! You've got all the time in the world—
whether a thousand years or a day, it's all the same to you.

5Are we no more to you than a wispy dream,
   no more than a blade of grass
6That springs up gloriously with the rising sun
   and is cut down without a second thought?

7Your anger is far and away too much for us;
   we're at the end of our rope.
8You keep track of all our sins; every misdeed
   since we were children is entered in your books.

9All we can remember is that frown on your face.
   Is that all we're ever going to get?
10We live for seventy years or so
   (with luck we might make it to eighty),
And what do we have to show for it? Trouble.
   Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard.
11Who can make sense of such rage,
   such anger against the very ones who fear you?
12Oh! Teach us to live well!
   Teach us to live wisely and well!

13Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
   and treat your servants with kindness for a change.

14Surprise us with love at daybreak;
   then we'll skip and dance all the day long.
15Make up for the bad times with some good times;
   we've seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
16Let your servants see what you're best at—
   the ways you rule and bless your children.
17And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
   confirming the work that we do.
   Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
Author: Isaac Watts, 1719; Tune: St. Anne. Published in 1152 hymnals, so far!

Hymnary dot org entry

1 O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home.

2 Under the shadow of your throne
your saints have dwelt secure.
Sufficient is your arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

3 Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received its frame,
from everlasting you are God,
to endless years the same.

4 A thousand ages in your sight
are like an evening gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

5 Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
soon bears us all away.
We fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the opening day.

6 O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
still be our guard while troubles last,
and our eternal home.

No comments: