the second Sunday before Lent
Augustine on Psalm XCIII
O LORD God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended (by protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles) against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Source: Sacramentary of Bishop Gregory of Rome. Cranmer replaced by protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles [St Paul] with by thy power probably as it struck of a prayer for the intercession of a saint as was objectionable to Reformed Anglicans in 1549 (and today-39 Articles). It is shown here for its historical place in Gregory's Sacramentary. It clearly points to the ancient lesson of ii Corinthians xi.19ff appointed for this day, where Paul speaks of his own suffering at the hands of the authorities, and says, "if I must need glory, I will glory in the things which concern my infirmities."
The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength,
"Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us do our duty as we understand it."
Grace be unto you and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
Sexagesima is the second week of pre-lent season. Sexa is for 60 days (approximately). The pre-lent period was not used until about the year 700.
Today's psalm is93. This is one of several that have been referred to as the Coronation Psalms, and includes psalm 47 and 93-100 by some reckoning. The psalms are regal in their tone, praising the Kingship and sovereign reign of Jehovah.
The Old Testament passage I suggest to accompany this reading is 2nd Samuel 5. It is the third and final coronation of David at Hebron after the death of Saul. This is when his rule was consolidated for all Israel. The lesson has no direct bearing on the psalm, which was likely written after the time of David, but it does have significance because Jehovah established his covenant with David's royal line. This royal line is a sign of God's reign. This Kingdom is based on a theocracy where God rules, and David, his servant whose heart was right with God, acted directly as God's agent on earth. When God anointed this royal house through Samuel, it pointed directly to his Son, Jesus. We find this in several places [Ps. 2:7, Romans 1:3-4].
Let us hear Augustine's interpretation of the first verses of Psalm 93 from our homily at the link above:
"The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with beauty; the Lord is clothed with strength, and is girded" (ver. 1). We see that He hath clothed Himself with two things: beauty and strength. But why? That He might found the earth. So it followeth, "He hath made the round world so sure, that it cannot be moved." Whence hath He made it so sure? Because He hath clothed Himself in beauty. He would not make it so sure, if He put on beauty only, and not strength also. Why therefore beauty, why strength? For He hath said both. Ye know, brethren, that when our Lord had come in others. For the tongues of the Jews were divided against one another: "Some said, He is a good Man; others said, Nay, but He deceiveth the people." Some then spoke well, others detracted from Him, tore Him, bit and insulted Him. Towards those therefore whom He pleased, "He put on beauty;" towards those whom He displeased, "He put on strength." Imitate then thy Lord, that thou mayest become His garment: be with beauty towards those whom thy good works please: show thy strength against detractors....
David typifies the coming Christ - the Son of David. He had beauty [I Sa 16] and strength [I Sam 17] as is expressed in these verses that Augustine explains. His heart was one with God. Kings in the line of David are mediators. At his coronation, David fulfilled this mediator role: "king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD" [I Sam 5]. Christ fulfils this role today.
Kingship also points to the single line between God an Man. There are not many mediators of the covenant, but one Mediator and one Advocate. Our Lord sits at the right had of God the Father and intercedes for his chosen. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" [1 Ti 2:5]. Beware of those "detractors" in high places who speak of many paths to God. They wish to please men with their blasphemy. There is no other way to the Father. Only through Christ will one will find the beauty of the Lord. The alternative is to face the strength of God today and on the awful Last Day.
As Augustine says, "Toward those who he please, he put on beauty" We know that Jesus' regal beauty was manifested to the Centurion of Calvary, who seeing the dirty Jewish peasant dying in the worst possible style of excruciating execution: whipped, beaten, bloody, exhausted, with a crown of thorns piercing his brow, and those of his own tribe mocking him; boldly proclaimed, "Truly this was the Son of God. " and "Certainly this was a righteous man."
Likewise, we may well suspect that to those who cannot, or will not, proclaim him as the only way, truth, and life, he has withheld his majestic beauty, and will exercise his awful strength.
May we who have seen the glory and beauty of our Lord join with the Centurion in proclaiming Christ crucified, resurrected, ascended, and glorified.