30 April 2022

Praying with the Psalms in Easter:
30 April 2022 (Psalm 66)

‘Sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise’ or Sing forth the honour of his name, Make his praise glorious’ (Psalm 66: 2) … a stained glass window in Saint Brendan’s Church, Bantry, Co Cork (1917) by James Watson & Co, Youghal (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During this season of Easter, I am reflecting each morning on the Psalms, and 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 66:

Psalm 66 is a psalm of thanksgiving, probably intended for use at the Passover. In the variation in numbering in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate, this is known as Psalm 65.

Psalm 66 is divided into two parts:

1, verses 1-12: the community praises God and invites the whole world to join in praise;

2, verses 13-20: an individual from the rescued community fulfils a vow to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

This psalm tells us that all the earth, and not just Israel, is invited to praise God, who is ‘awesome in his deeds’ (verse 2) and who is ‘wonderful’ in ‘his dealings’ with humanity. The psalmist recalls the Exodus, and how the people crossed the Red Sea and the River Jordan on foot. God keeps watch over ‘the nations,’ so they should not rebel against him.

God preserves us in life and protects us. In the past, he has tested us and purified as silver is purified. Israel has been subjugated by other people, which may be a reference to exile not only in Egypt but also in Babylon. Yet, after being tested by fire and water, God has brought them to freedom and liberty again.

[Come and see] ‘what God hath wrought’ was the first message sent by telegraph in 1844. The verse was suggested by Annie Ellsworth and inspired by Psalm 66: 5 and Psalm 66: 16.

Standing in the chamber of the US Supreme Court, Samuel B Morse sent a 19-letter message to his assistant Albert Vail in Baltimore, who transmitted the message back. Psalm 66: 5 was sent as ‘what God hath wrought’ (‘Come and see what God has done’), while Psalm 66:16 was the reply: ‘Come and see what God has done for me’ (‘Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me’).

‘Be joyful in God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; sing the glory of his praise’ (Psalm 66: 1) … at the mouth of the river in Messonghi, Corfu (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Psalm 66 (NRSVA):

To the leader. A Song. A Psalm.

1 Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
2 sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise.
3 Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth worships you;
they sing praises to you,
sing praises to your name.’

5 Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
6 He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him,
7 who rules by his might for ever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let the rebellious not exalt themselves.

8 Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
you laid burdens on our backs;
12 you let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.

13 I will come into your house with burnt-offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
14 those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt-offerings of fatlings,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.
17 I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
he has given heed to the words of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me.

Today’s Prayer:

The theme in this week’s prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is ‘Logging in the Solomon Islands,’ and was introduced on Sunday morning by Brother Christopher John SSF, Minister General of the Society of Saint Francis.

The USPG Prayer Diary this morning (30 April 2022) invites us to pray:

We give thanks for the work of the United Nations and pray for more urgent action on climate change and other important issue from the international community.

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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