Lectionary Year B
December 5, 1999
Second Sunday in Advent
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Step II: Disposition
(FS) A. GENRE
Mowinckel relates this to the Psalms of lament, with "strong colors" of
expression and longing referring to a state of acute need and distress (The Psalms and Israel's Worship, Vol. i, p. 191).
The lectionary edits out verses 3-7. The Psalm as a whole has a wistful,
longing tone: "Lord, will be you angry with us forever?" "Will you revive
us again, that your people may rejoice in you?" The longing segues to a
note of prophetic hope with verse 8, with moving visions and powerful
imagery: faithfulness grows from the earth itself, righteousness and peace
kiss, love and faithfulness intertwine in an embrace.
(FS) B. PERSONAL INTERACTION
A. When vv. 3-7 are added, to me the wistfulness and longing culminates
in the vision of a wondrous new act of God. The vision of a new earth
flows from that longing for forgiveness, for God to again show favor. We
read the Psalm through eyes which cannot help but see the manger, the
cross, and the empty tomb in 8-13.
B. What magnificent imagery!!! What would "righteousness and peace"
kissing be like? In Spanish, "justicia" can mean "justice" or
"righteousness", as can be seen in the comparative translations. With
righteousness lived out in social relationships and structures, could
peace be far behind? What kind of world would this be? What can the
Church of Jesus Christ do now in the world as it is that would show at
least a dim outline or anticipation of this imagery?
C. "Righteousness/justice goes before him, and prepares the way for his
steps"-- sounds like John the Baptizer making ready the road in the
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