Psalm 97 Commentary
Sung on the 7th Sunday of Easter and on Christ has morning
video/Audio recording: Ps 97 audio – Small 2
We last sang Psalm 97 on Christmas morning. Now we have journeyed forward as Pentecost approaches with its outreach to the whole of creation. The psalm is like Mary’s Magnificat in that it urges all creation to sing out a new song to proclaim the goodness of the Lord for all generations. Like Mary, the psalmist proclaims, “All the ends of the earth have seen our salvation!” What a fine song for our Eastertide celebrations!
And it’s a new song, because God continues to shower blessings: God, of course, is not like a watchmaker who creates something and then leaves it to get on with things. No, God’s right hand and his holy arm keep on saving with love and faithfulness. That “holy arm” suggests that God has rolled up his sleeves and gets stuck in to the saving work!
The psalm has a universal outlook throughout: “All the ends of the earth have seen salvation!” (verses 2 and 3). And “All who dwell in the world acknowledge him!”(verse 7). God will judge “all the world and its peoples” (verse 9).
And the singer has the backing of a fairly lively band! Not only the harp, but also trumpets, and the horn, and the human voice shouting joyfully! The psalm reaches out from the psalmist, through the band of musicians, and on to “all peoples”, and then “all of creation”, as the seas are invited to roar and the trees of the forest to “clap their hands” and the mountains to sing together for joy (verses 8 and 9).
In summary, our psalm invites us to join with the whole of creation to praise God for the wonderful things done for everyone. On this Eastertide morning, we may particularly thank God for that wonderful Risen presence of the Saviour all those years ago, and also for his coming now in Word and Sacrament and through our works for peace and justice in the world around us. Can we too joyfully roll up our sleeves like God in verse one, and get involved in practical ways to making our world a happier place this Eastertide and beyond?