Psalm 85: Grant Us Your Peace, Lord
Psalm 85, “Grant Us Your Peace, Lord,” submitted by Yongjiang Zhou, was written by Jacques Berthier and focuses on peace.Psalm 85
How does this psalm piece interpret the psalm?
The setting of “Grant Us Your Peace, Lord” is an ostinato refrain with descant singing the central themes of Psalm 85:8–13. Psalm 85 is the prayer of an ancient faith community in crisis. The refrain has only two bars with a harmonic progression of I-II2 (D–Em2). This is an open progression, ending on dissonant harmonies (Em2—seventh chords). It seems to express the struggle of Israelites after their exile, praying to God to grant them peace again.
Whether in the pursuit of racial justice or in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the deep yearning of people is for peace, the hoped-for state of humankind from ancient to modern times. In a message for today, the psalmist tells us that we need to hear God’s precious Word, fear God, and not abuse God’s grace by turning back to sin, instead walking away from sin. Then we will have true peace. True peace is not only an external environment, but a state of mind—a complete, whole, and healthy sense of security, happiness, and contentment based on a good and right relationship with God. The repeated chant of the believer—“Peace, Lord” —reinforces the faith of the community that God will give peace to God’s people and to all who seek him. Although the devil is the great destroyer, he constantly brings disharmony to the universe. But God has brought peace and harmony to the world. In this passage, the four qualities of God—love and faithfulness, peace and righteousness—come together, and then, like a victorious general, they march side by side toward victory, which is the sure hope of God's people (McClure). This harmony and peace derives from the redemption given to us through the work of the Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross, and is perfected in the last ages, when all creation shall be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).
Bellinger, W H. "Commentary on Psalm 85:8-13." Working Preacher from Luther Seminary. Last modified July 12, 2009. https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/ordinary-15-2/commentary-on-psalm-858-13-4.
Donovan, Richard N. "Psalm 85 Commentary." Sermon Writer. Last modified April 9, 2019. https://sermonwriter.com/psalm-85-commentary/.
McClure, Amy R. "Sermon P 85: 8-13 “Let Us Hear” ." First Baptist Church on Fifth. Last modified , 2018. https://firstonfifth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Psalms-85_8-13-FBC-Winston-Salem-July-2018-website-copy.pdf.
Use on the tenth Lord’s Day after Pentecost of Year A (2020) as a response to the first reading (1 Kings 19:9–18) or sing in a prayer meeting for peace or in a Taizé prayer service.
Text: ancient prayer
Music: Melchoir Franck, 1597-1639, arr. Jacques Berthier © 1998 Ateliers et Presses de Taizé, admin. GIA Publications, Inc.
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