Wednesday of the Week of Advent I
The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The Lord will send the scepter of your power out of Zion, saying,
“Rule over your enemies round about you.
Princely state has been yours from the day of your birth; in the beauty of holiness
have I begotten you, like dew from the womb of the morning.” (Psalm 110)
If you began this Advent series thinking the Psalms wouldn’t connect well with the coming of Jesus, I hope you have been convinced! This psalm is evidence that Christians dare not read the psalms without a Christo-centric (Christ-centered) eye! Martin Luther in The Summaries on the Psalms, 1531, wrote, “The 110th psalm is a prophecy of Christ, that He shall be an eternal king and priest, indeed, true God, sitting at the right hand of God the Father… It would be right to acknowledge it as the chief confirmation of the Christ faith.”
It is not only unfortunate, but tragic, that the last few generations of seminary professors taught future pastors that it is not acceptable to read the psalms as focused on Christ and foretelling the coming of Christ. This understanding of the Psalter would have been foreign to Martin Luther, who saw Jesus Christ on every page, in every psalm. For this reason, the Psalms are not only the hymn-book of Israel, but of the Church! They are not Old Testament materials unrelated to the birth, death and resurrection of the Son of God, but hymns of praise, prophecy, and prayer pointing to Jesus, alone, as one whose “princely state has been yours from the day of your birth; in the beauty of holiness” God the Father had begotten the Son… “like dew from the womb of the morning.”
In earlier times, no hymns or songs were sung in church other than those which were psalms or paraphrases of psalms. No other texts were allowed as worthy to be sung in the worship of the Church. Even choir anthems were from psalms or other Scriptural texts. I met a pastor in Colorado Springs once who told me his congregation had returned to singing only psalms as hymns in worship. This kept “bad theology” from creeping into the church, borne on albeit catchy tunes! Might that be a good practice to consider today?
Prayer: O God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit — speak to us through the Holy Scriptures and open our hearts and minds to you! Amen.
Advent Action: Monks would pray all 150 psalms in worship each week. Read through all 150 during Advent.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.