Psalm 113 (NRSV)
Verse 1Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord; praise the name of the Lord.
Verse 2Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore.
Verse 3From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised.
Verse 4The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
Verse 5Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high,
Verse 6who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?
Verse 7He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
Verse 8to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.
Verse 9He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!
Psalms 113-118 make up “The Great Hallel” or “The Egyptian Hallel” sung in Jewish homes during the Passover celebration. Sung first, Verse 7 of Psalm 113 is particularly appropriate for this week’s theme of social justice: God “raises the poor from the dust.” At the beginning of the Passover meal the front door of every house is opened as a sign of welcome to any stranger. Then, at the end of the meal, the door is re-opened to hopefully welcome Elijah, the forerunner of the Messiah, who will come to make all things right. Convinced that the promised Messiah has already come, our calling as God’s people is to engage in such work, even now. We can do this in part through agencies such as Lutheran Social Services, ELCA World Hunger, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and local food banks.
With the song of the psalmist in our hearts, help us, O God, to be faithful in our calling to serve those who have no one else to serve them. Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.