Scripture Focus: Psalm 68.11
11 The Lord announces the word,
and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:
Reflection: In Great Company
By John Tillman
For a decade of ministry, I quoted this verse from the NKJV: “…Great was the company of those who proclaimed it.” (Psalm 68.11) Our traveling ministry group was called “The Company.” When we introduced ourselves, we leaned into the pun but emphasized that “great” did not refer to the quality of our group but to the great number of God’s people charged to proclaim the good news.
Some commentators describe Psalm 68 as a liturgical script for a procession. It may have been a song to accompany a reenactment of the Ark of the Covenant arriving at the Temple. As an artist and actor, this possibility is intriguing. It does seem that parts of the psalm reenact the past, and parts predict the future.
In context, the “word” proclaimed in this psalm is good news of a battle won. Powerful and wicked kings and armies are overthrown as if they are nothing. The psalmist compares them to smoke scattered with a breath or wax melting away before the flames even touch it.
It is news of a victor who is mighty to save. The vulnerable are protected. The lonely are gathered into families. The prisoners are liberated. The poor are bountifully supplied.
This word of good news is true in several ways. It is historically and literally true. God gave Israel many military victories. It is prophetically and metaphysically true. God promises to crush the serpent’s head and destroy evil throughout all time and creation.
Most of all, it is finally, physically and spiritually true in Jesus. He shed his blood for us, his enemies, and was crushed for our misdeeds. Yet, he is the victor who wins the battle. He has overthrown sin and death as if they were nothing. He is the liberator who breaks captives’ chains. He is the provider who bountifully gives to the poor.
We don’t do many celebratory liturgical reenactments in the modern church. One that we do often, however, is communion. When partaking of the cup and the bread, you are also proclaiming its message. Communion proclaims Jesus’ death, his victory, his gifts, and his glory.
We are part of a great company charged with proclaiming the good news. Let our reenactment spill out of the sanctuary. May we reenact and proclaim the life of Jesus, not merely in art or liturgy but in action and love.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless our God, you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heard;
Who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip. — Psalm 66.7-8
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
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