Sunday 12 November 2023

Sunday 12th November - Trinity 23 - Peace and Reconciliation and Vengeance

This is the 23rd Sunday after Trinity; oh, how long ago all those festivals of Easter Sunday, Ascension Day, Pentecost, Corpus Christi seem! When days were growing longer, and the weather was warmer, and things were springing out of the earth and trees were bursting into leaf! 

The Church Year is drawing to an end, for we turn to the front of the Prayer Books at the beginning of Advent, in just a few week's time.

There's a lot to be praying about in the world just now. 

Clearly, fighting, war, aggression, killing, bombing, eradication isn't an answer; when we remember and count the cost in hunan lives and suffering we have to wonder if there cannot be a better way. 

I've just arrived at Psalm 137 in my 'A year with the Psalms' book. Everyone knows the beginning of it, whether or not they are church goers or Bible readers. Do you remember 'Boney M'?

Or maybe you sang this version at school? 

But there's more to the Psalm than the opening verses. It is one of the notorious 'cursing psalms' where the psalmist demands violent, extreme retaliation against the armies who invaded and destroyed Jerusalem and took the people captive, to become slaves hundreds of miles away in Babylon.

Not unlike what's happening today.

Here's a bit of the commentary from my book, though;

It’s easy to criticize the intemperate language of Psalm 137:9, but as Charles Spurgeon writes: “Let those find fault with it who have never seen their temple burned, their city ruined, their wives ravished, and their children slain; they might not perhaps be so velvet-mouthed.” Strong emotion against inhuman violence is not wrong when it comes as a cry to God. But make sure you leave the outcome in his hands. God says, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19).

Returning to the collect for this week, let's do our best to pray for reconciliation and peace, even if our hearts are raging, and trust God to deal with what needs to be dealt with. 

Shalom, peace be with you.



  1. That is an excellent response! It's very hard to know how it is all going to end and to feel that such horrid things are going on. We have been given guidance from my our local authority that we are are not to post about it on social media or anything as we have to remain impartial as teachers which is very hard.
    I do know that Boney M song as we used to play a version of it in my Windband when I was a teenager!

    1. Thank you for your encouraging comment. I love both the Boney M song and the round (very difficult to sing a capella without getting flatter and flatter!)

  2. From our service: God of Peace, Lover of Justice, Take our thanksgiving and turn it into active compassion for the victims of aggression and violence, whether they are labelled aliens or allies, enemies or friends. May they experience the grace of forgiving, and the healing power of love. Take our rage, and turn it into potent anger at all forms of injustice, all attempts to dominate others through violence, all identification of right with force. May our anger burn until we see peace built of the foundations of justice and freedom from oppression. AMEN