Ps 115 commentary for Holy Thursday
by Dr Noel Donnelly.
Psalm 115 is a love song: it’s an intensely personal response of love for all God has done. The singer remembers that even when things were at their worst he hung on to his faith through the awful affliction that has now passed.
In response to God’s goodness he now promises to do three things:
He will raise a “cup of salvation”: probably this was originally the drink offering which accompanied a burnt offering in the Temple, a kind of grateful toast to God using sacred wine;
Secondly he decides to offer a thanksgiving sacrifice: probably this was originally a cereal offering, perhaps an offering of bread! This was to be a “thank you” gift for God’s goodness in the recent past;
Thirdly he decides to renew the promises he made to God in private circumstances and now wishes to express them publicly for everyone to witness.
Offering a cup of wine and a loaf of bread in thanksgiving reminds the Christian of course of the Eucharist. The psalm however is couched in love rather than ritual and asks for a renewal of our vows or promises which we are now challenged to put into practice. There’s a twist in the tail! We are urged to go out from our Eucharistic expressions of love and move into the demands of love in daily life. Another challenging psalm for us to ponder and to put into practice!
Psalm 115: The blessing cup: words (c) The Grail, England; music (c) Kevin Mayhew. Recorded by Mary Bradley.