I will sing of loyalty and of justice;
to you, O Lord, I will sing.
I will study the way that is blameless.
When shall I attain it?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
anything that is base.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
Perverseness of heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil.
One who secretly slanders a neighbor
I will destroy.
A haughty look and an arrogant heart
I will not tolerate.
I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,
so that they may live with me;
whoever walks in the way that is blameless
shall minister to me.
No one who practices deceit
shall remain in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue in my presence.
Morning by morning I will destroy
all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all evildoers
from the city of the Lord. (New Revised Standard Version)
Routine and repetition might seem tedious and boring. However, they are indispensable. People are designed for doing, saying, and thinking the same things over and over again. Habits help to press what is most important into our minds, our speech, and our behavior.
Transformation and change aren’t accomplished through sheer willpower. It happens through the small daily decisions of life. A mere ten minutes, dedicated specifically to a particular task each day, has the power to completely alter our lives.
The biblical psalms, read every day, out loud, through singing and praying, can bring an inside-out metamorphosis which can serve us for a lifetime. To help remind us of this, I sometimes include the psalm readings in my blog reflections two, even three, days in a row.
The Revised Common Lectionary is a method of reading through the Bible in a three-year cycle (Year A, B, C). Rather than reading the Bible from cover to cover, the Lectionary follows the seasons of the Christian Year (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost and Ordinary Time).
The advantage to reading the Bible with daily assigned texts from the Old Testament, Psalms, and the New Testament is that the reader has an opportunity to follow the life of Jesus through the course of a year. For a Christian who wants to grow in discipleship, the Lectionary is a helpful way of getting to know Christ better.
Another benefit of following the Lectionary readings is that they can be read slowly in about ten to fifteen minutes. This affords the opportunity to spend time reflecting and thinking about how the Bible applies to our life today. Since the daily readings relate to one another from various places in the Bible, it is a helpful way of keeping in mind the whole of Scripture.
The daily readings of the Lectionary revolve around the Sunday readings. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday readings reflect on the Sunday texts. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday prepare for Sunday. This has the obvious advantage for making Christian worship a special experience.
The purpose of the Lectionary is to encourage Bible reading, a well-rounded understanding of the Bible’s contents, as well as provide a good foundation for prayer. The Lectionary is meant to be a devotional reading of the Bible which draws people closer to God.
A consistent feature of the Revised Common Lectionary is that the same Psalm is read three days in a row. There is a reason for that. Psalms are meant for more than reading. They are also designed for prayer, singing, and worship.
Since I spiritually dwell a lot within the psalter, I have written out my own translation of many of them. I encourage you to read the following version out loud as a prayer to God….
God almighty, I will sing about your committed love and the exercise of your justice;
and I will make music to and for you.
I have committed myself to wise discernment so I can walk in the way of integrity;
so when will you come and help me?
I will, with your assistance, establish integrity in my own home.
I refuse to set goals on worthless things which add no value to my life.
I despise the actions of deviant and deceitful people,
and I will not let their crud stick to me.
My mind and heart won’t go down that crooked path,
for I will have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness.
The person who slanders another behind their back –
well, just know, I will not put up with it!
The person who is full of themselves and looks down on others –
believe you me, I will not tolerate it!
My eyes are fixated on pursuing trustworthy persons,
and I will surround myself with them.
The person who walks in the way of integrity –
for sure, will be my friend and confidant.
There is absolutely no room for deceitful hypocrites within my household,
nor for any two-faced liar; they won’t be around me for long!
Every morning, without fail, I will practice justice,
I will make it so evil persons cannot survive around me,
effectively cutting-off troublemakers from your holy place.