29 May 2022

Praying with the Psalms in Easter:
29 May 2022 (Psalm 95)

‘The heights of the mountains are his also’ (Psalm 95: 4) … snow in springtime on the White Mountains or Lefka Ori above Rethymnon in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today is the Seventh Sunday of Easter or the Sunday after Ascension Day. Although Thursday was Ascension Day, the season of Easter continues until the Day of Pentecost, next Sunday.

Later this morning, I hope to attend the Parish Eucharist in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles in Stony Stratford. Before this day begins, I am taking some time this morning to continue my reflections in this season of Easter, including my morning reflections drawing on the Psalms.

In my blog, I am reflecting each morning in this Prayer Diary 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 95:

Psalm 95 is familiar to many as a Canticle known by its Latin name Venite. In the slightly different numbering system in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate, this psalm is counted as Psalm 94.

Psalm 95 is the third in a series of psalms (Psalms 93-99) that are called royal psalms as they praise God as King. This is a psalm about the connections between religious faith and a failure of humanity.

As the canticle Venite, Psalm 95 is used regularly at Morning Prayer (see the Book of Common Prayer, Church of Ireland, pp 87-88, 103-104, 118-119, 702-703). The name Venite is derived from the Latin version of the opening words, Venite, exultemus Domino, an invitation to worship the Lord.

Psalm 95 identifies no author, although Hebrews 4: 7 attributes it to David, and it is quoted in a number of places in the Letter to the Hebrews.

This psalm recalls an incident in the Exodus story (see Exodus 17: 1-7), when the people complained of their lack of water, and refers to the episode of the spies (see Numbers 13-14), when the people, demoralised by their report, rebelled.

God is praised as ‘the rock of our salvation’ (verse 1), who cared for our ancestors in faith during their 40 years wandering in the wilderness (verse 10), and put God to the test.

This God we are called to worship is the supreme god, worthy of worship him, who is in maker of heaven and earth. Recalling the time their ancestors in faith spent in the wilderness, the people are reminded that he moulded the dry land, and not just the dry places in the wilderness, and that all water is created by him, from the water of the springs to the waters of the sea.

Generations may pass, but God remains faithful to us, and we are called to be faithful to him.

‘The sea is his, for he made it’ (Psalm 95: 5) … sunset on the sea at Rethymnon in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Psalm 95 (NRSVA):

1 O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

6 O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice!
8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your ancestors tested me,
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they do not regard my ways.’
11 Therefore in my anger I swore,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’

Today’s Prayer:

The theme in this week’s prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is ‘Global Day of Parents.’ It is introduced this morning:

In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 1 June as the Global Day of Parents, to be observed annually in honour of parents throughout the world.

The Global Day of Parents aims to raise awareness about the responsibility of families. This day aims to recognise and appreciate the effort of parents. It acknowledges that they are important in nurturing and protecting their children. This day encourages communities to offer supportive environments where children can grow up in happy, loving, and understanding atmospheres.

Parents have a tough task helping children through their growth and development, from early childhood through to adolescence. Parents work hard to make their children happy by organising trips, cooking meals together and working together on important projects. Parents should be open, honest, supportive and serve as a good example to their children.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the difficulties of parenthood have been exacerbated by lack of childcare, juggling home-schooling and homeworking, and trying to explain what is happening to shocked and traumatised children.

USPG works to support parents across our partner churches, through programmes focusing on households and family health in Malawi and Ghana.

The USPG Prayer Diary this morning (29 May 2022) invites us to pray:

Heavenly Father,
may we treat each other as Jesus showed us to.
Let us truly act as a global family,
sharing love and wisdom with each other.

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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