Bless the LORD, O my soul! – Psalm 102 (103)

Εὐλόγει, ἡ ψυχή μου, τὸν Κύριον

Psalm 102 (103 in English Bibles) is a poetic prayer read (and sometimes chanted) in the Orthodox Church at the beginning of the service of Vespers.

In this Psalm, the Psalmist meditates on the various parts of God’s Creation: the heavens and the earth, the mountains, the valleys and the water which passes through them, the ministering angels, the diversity of plants and animals including the cattle, the cedars of Lebanon, the young lions who snatch their pray, the sparrows and their nests, and finally humanity. God’s love runs through all of creation: “When You open Your hand, all things shall be filled with goodness (v28).

The Psalmist suggests a cooperation between God’s work and humanity’s work, especially in regards to the land: “You are He who causes grass to grow for the cattle, and the green plant for the service of man. To bring forth bread from the earth; And wine gladdens the heart of man, to brighten his face with oil; and bread strengthens man’s heart” (v14-15).

Towards the end of the Psalm, the Holy Spirit is revealed as the one Who works in the world: “You shall send for Your Spirit, and they shall be created, And you shall renew the face of the earth” (v30).

Finally, the Psalmist finishes with a personal promise to God: “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing to my God as long as I exist; May my words be pleasing to Him, and I shall be glad in the LORD… Bless the LORD, O my soul.” (v33-35).


Source: October-November 2014 Lychnos Edition