16th March 2021
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God and we are
the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah
in the wilderness.
This Psalm, known as the Venite,
is included in the daily Morning Prayer
in both Anglican and Catholic prayer books.
It is recited at the beginning
of each day before all other readings
emphasising the importance of
listening to the Word of God
on a daily basis.
The psalm remembers an incident
during the Exodus,
when those who refused to believe
God could lead them into the
promised land and so rebelled,
were left to die in the wilderness.
During Lent, a time of recommitment,
these words remind us that we need to come
before the Lord daily,
to kneel before him
(physically or metaphorically)
and listen to his word,
accepting him as Lord
of our lives and trusting in him.
in the Hebrew tradition,
the heart did more than
pump blood round the body;
it incorporated all the things that
we would associate with the mind;
memory, reasoning, logic.
All religions thought the heart
represents the deepest centre of
the whole make-up of a person.
(When an ancient Egyptian died,
the heart was removed and weighed
against a feather of Maat.
The heart was the key to the afterlife).
It is in this deep centre that God
communicates to us.
Psalm 42 expresses this communication as
'deep calling on deep
in the roar of the waters' v7 -
what a lovely picture this evokes -
God revealing himself to us in this way.
For those of us with a poetic turn of mind
there is a beautiful description of how
the 'heart' is gradually brought to
awareness of God in the Song of Songs;
I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
"Open to me, ...my love'. 5:2
In the midst of our
day to day lives,
while worries and uncertainties,
joys and sorrows revolve around us,
deep is calling to deep,
our 'hearts' are being revived,
So, let's not deny this happening,
let us open, not harden, our hearts
to accept the presence of God.
Let us learn to listen,
to be aware of our loving God
who longs to be in communion with us.
If we listen and receive God's Word,
we will understand that wherever
and whoever we are, we are part of a
people who 'belong to his pasture.'
This psalm speaks for us
and to us long after it was penned
and is just as pointed and powerful now
as it was to those who first sang it
in Solomon's temple.
It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'Venite Psalm 95 1984.'
via the link shown below.