FROM THE LOCUM
Our Lectionary lays down that we will hear two Psalms today, Psalm 42 and 43. Psalm 42 is headed, ‘Longing for God and His Help in Distress,’ while Psalm 43 has the title, ‘Prayer to God in Times of Trouble.’ These Psalms of David have a common theme. God is being petitioned for help.
These two Psalms were originally thought to be one. They are thought to have been written by one or more of the temple musicians. In Psalm 42 we read of ‘longing’. This is the idea of an unmet desire. The Psalmist writes of the longing of a deer for the cool waters of a flowing stream. Surely we can identify with that in an Australian summer when our earth is parched. Often our farmers long for water to break the drought. This is the urgency of the Psalmist’s need to be close to God, note his emphasis on the ‘Living God’. Whilst the Psalmist is cast down, he knows that by night, God’s song is with him.
Psalm 43 refers to the Psalmist’s trouble when dealing with ungodly people – deceitful and unjust. Again the Psalmist feels cut off from God. ‘Let your light and truth lead me and I will come to your altar with pleasure and joy to praise you’. In both Psalms, the author knows the solution to his torment. It is to be in relationship with God. And it is the same for us.
The Psalms were the hymnbook for the people of Israel. They sang and prayed these verses. Monastics have always prayed the Psalms, usually completing 150 of them each week through their daily offices. Sometimes, I think, we don’t give enough emphasis to our Psalms. To do them justice, we need to do more than hear them read or listen to them being chanted – we need to work on them, to study them, to ascertain their relevance for us today because they speak of timeless personal concerns.
Love and blessings,