Psalm 117: Everyone's Covered
A celebration of overwhelming, unfailing love for everyone in the world.
Read Psalm 117
Open the translation of your choice...
Chabad.org (with Rashi commentary)
NIV at BlueLetterBible.org (with interlinear)
... and dive into the immersion materials below.
Singing the Psalm
Listen to the song
All nations of the world in the one big heart
All people everywhere in the one big heart
We're in love
We live and move together
in the one big heart
"In the One Big Heart" is part of the Our Roots Are In You Psalm collection.
Full album songbook with scores, charts and songleaders notes available.
Download the In the One Big Heart Accompaniment Pack:
pdf of congregational line
2 instrumental accompaniment tracks
jpg of congregational line
powerpoint & keynote slides
In the One Big Heart Accompaniment Pack
At only two verses long, Psalm 117 is the shortest of all the Psalms and the shortest chapter in the Bible.
Psalm 117 is not included the Revised Common Lectionary. Alas.
What makes 117 unique is its call for all nations-- not just Israel- to join in praising the Holy One who loves us. Whether the "us" refers specifically to people of faith or to everyone in every nation on the planet, there's an ecstatic sense of being overwhelmed by the unfailing covenant love of God.
Hebrew lesson! Verse 2's "steadfast love" or "faithful kindness" is from the Hebrew word hesed (HESS-ed) which is found throughout the Psalms. It describes steadfast compassion, the love that will not let us go.
This is a great Psalm for Worldwide Communion Sunday or for honoring the many faith traditions in the world.
people in cars are loved by God.
An Inconvenient Proclamation
Does this all-inclusive love of God bother anyone?
Honestly, when someone rubs you the wrong way, it's not easy to see him or her as someone held in the heart of God's love. Especially if that person has deeply hurt you in some way.
Both testaments of the Bible extend the challenge to cultivate an open-hearted life-- and not just for the sake of being politically correct or nice. It seems to be the happiest way to live, too.
If you're wondering about how it looks, here are a few passages in the Old and New Testaments that might be helpful:
Leviticus 19 (Strangers in town)
Proverbs 16.24 (Delicious)
Micah 6.8 (What's up)
I John 3-4 (Why and how)
Matthew 5. 43-48 (Enemies)
Matthew 6 (The Jesus Prayer)
Luke 10.25-37 (A story)
Romans 14 (When they're too weird)
Ephesians 4 (You're annoyed)
I Corinthians 13 (What's it?)
Pic by Griszka Niewiadomski
Putting a psalm in your own words can help it hit home.
With Psalm 117 open to the translation of your choice, take five minutes to remake it in your own words.
Need suggestions? Fill in details like:
List "all the nations" (verse 1) as they come to mind.
Who are "all you peoples" (verse 2) and synonymns for "steadfast love" and "faithfulness?"
What's it mean for something to "endure forever?" (verse 2)
What's the most natural way for you to express "praising the Lord? (verse 2)?
Spiritual Practice: The Lovingkindness Prayer
Here's a practice you may find lovely or challenging or both. The Metta Prayer has many variations, but it's center is always lovingkindness towards all of creation.
Begin by sitting still and relaxing your body. Take some deep breaths and allow your breath to find its natural pace.
May all beings be peaceful and at ease.
May all beings be happy.
May they be safe and free of fear.
May they be content and live simply.
May they be awakening to their own nature.
May all beings be free.
First focus on yourself with these words. Then, in progression,
imagine a dear friend, someone you feel neutral toward,
someone you dislike, and finally "all beings." You may also
include a pet, any stranger or even a tree.
As you go along, notice how you feel.