Preaching The Lectionary Psalms for Cycles A, B, C
Psalm 9 was probably once joined with Psalm 10, for the letters of the Hebrew alphabet appear in order, half in Psalm 9 and half in Psalm 10. That is, each second verse begins with the next letter of the alphabet.
There is much in this psalm that we have heard in others, but we pause now over verse 11, which advises us to "Sing praises to the Lord" and "Declare his deeds among the peoples." In other words, this psalm calls us to witness to the presence of God in our lives.
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.