I have a tendency to get caught up in an idea. When I started adding a lectionary tag to posts that I thought were relevant to upcoming lectionary readings my intention was to simply tag things I was going to write anyhow, and also to encourage myself to write a little bit more about my devotional reading. Then I thought I might round up some related posts.
Besides the posts he links to, I’d like to call attention to this post by Chris Heard at Higgaion. It deals with much more than just Psalm 137, but the methods used in dealing with other materials may be helpful in responding to this Psalm. He also correctly points out how often attacks on the Bible due to issues such as violence result from poor hermeneutics. Much of the debate on the inspiration and value of the Bible is carried out at a very simplistic level.
I should have read Chris Heard’s post earlier, but I simply never got to it. I found it via Bob’s Log, in which he is logging his work on the Psalms. He has a brief post on Psalm 137 here, and you can find his translation chart here. Bob goes a good deal deeper into the details of the Psalms than I normally do, and though I rarely comment, I find reading his material quite helpful.
Randy Ridenour, a mobilized Army Reserve chaplain, gives a very special take on this passage from “the rivers of Babylon.” Relevant interpretation can come in many different ways.
I love Psalm 137, which refers to the Babylonian Exile, because it gives me permission to be angry at times and sad at times. Few things annoy me more than a continually happy Christian. Life can sometimes stink; sometimes, life is painful and makes us angry; sometimes, life is so painful, we want to cry. Psalm 137 gives us permission to go through these moments of agony.
Perhaps those who find this hard to preach from should consider the reality that is reflected by the Psalm. That won’t make it easy, but it may make it necessary.