Which Psalm has the second highest public awareness?
Psalm 23 is pretty well-known to the public. It gets sung and read at funerals and used in other places.
Well, during the 1970s and 80s you could make a case for Psalm 137, which begins with the words: By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
The psalm featured in the rastafarian/reggae song Rivers Of Babylon, later to achieve worldwide fame in a disco cover version by the group Boney M.
A refrain based on words from Psalm 19: ‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight’ was also a part of the song.
It was one of those nerdy Christian youth moments: ‘You think this sounds cool? Well it’s really from the >dun, dun, duhhhhh< BIBLE.'
It was right up there with singing 'Amazing Grace' to the melody of 'House Of The Rising Sun'.
The modern rendition is a classic expression of 'liberation theology', transferring the hope which Israel had for freedom and restoration to the aspirations of a contemporary body of people, instead of recognising that these themes point to the eternal and perfect promise of freedom and restoration that will be realised when Jesus returns.
Sadly, Bobby Farrell, one of the performers of the classic lineup of Boney M has died. You can read a report here.
If you’re motivated you can search up material about the group, really a studio creation of producer/song-writer Frank Farian (later to achieve notoriety with another creation, Milli Vanilli). Wikipedia has pages for the group and the song. Boney M were not one-hit wonders by any means. Daddy Cool, Brown Girl In The Ring, Rasputin, Ma Baker and a few others were all pretty decent songs of their era.
As an old year passes to a new year God’s people are still looking and waiting for the full realisation of that promised land.