Monday, 21 March 2022

Praying with the Psalms in Lent:
21 March 2022 (Psalms 41)

‘Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me’ (Psalm 41: 9) … a variety of bread in a shop window in Thessaloniki (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

I have spent another night in Milton Keynes University Hospital, following my minor stroke last Friday. I had an MRI scan late yesterday, and my blod proessure, temperature, and medication was monitored and managed throughout the day. Before this day begins, I am taking some time early this morning (21 March 2022) for prayer, reflection and reading.

During Lent this year, in this Prayer Diary on my blog each morning, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, Short reflections on a psalm or psalms;

2, reading the psalm or psalms;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Psalm 41:

Psalm 41 is ascribed to King David and is the final psalm in the first book or first segment in the Psalter. In the slightly different numbering system in the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, this psalm is numbered as Psalm 40.

Having spent much of the weekend in hospital in Milton Keynes with a minor stroke, there are many resonances for me in words I read in 41 this morning: ‘The Lord sustains them on their sickbed; in their illness you heal all their infirmities’ (verse 3).

Psalm 41 ends this first collection of psalms with a note of hope.

The concluding verse, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen’ (verse 13) is not the final verse of this Psalm, as such, but provides a liturgical conclusion to the first segment of the Book of Psalms.

‘The Lord sustains them on their sickbed; in their illness you heal all their infirmities’ (Psalm 41: 3) … the view from my hospital bed in Meilton Keynes at the weekend (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Psalm 41 (NRSVA):

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

1 Happy are those who consider the poor;
the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
2 The Lord protects them and keeps them alive;
they are called happy in the land.
You do not give them up to the will of their enemies.
3 The Lord sustains them on their sickbed;
in their illness you heal all their infirmities.

4 As for me, I said, ‘O Lord, be gracious to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.’
5 My enemies wonder in malice
when I will die, and my name perish.
6 And when they come to see me, they utter empty words,
while their hearts gather mischief;
when they go out, they tell it abroad.
7 All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.

8 They think that a deadly thing has fastened on me,
that I will not rise again from where I lie.
9 Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted,
who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me.
10 But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them.

11 By this I know that you are pleased with me;
because my enemy has not triumphed over me.
12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence for ever.

13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

Today’s Prayer:

The USPG Prayer Diary this week has a particular focus on ‘Lingering Legacies’ and remembering the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary this morning (21 March 2022, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) invites us to pray:

Let us pray with Giselle Edwards, a 13-year-old from Jamaica, as she reflects on those who were enslaved and Black people who suffer from the effects of racial discrimination. Good God, open our eyes to see acts of injustice and people who are oppressed and stand up with them and for them.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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