Jenny's Psalm Reflections: 58 verse 1

Today’s verse is Psalm 58 VERSE 1

Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge people fairly?

Background:

The last few Psalms have been full of vengeance, haven’t they? We rarely hear them as they are so vengeful and with difficult language. However, no one is perfect and we all get angry, look at things from the wrong perspective or blame others. These types of Psalms are known as laments and they show us that it is alright to cry out to God!

In my own life, I have been having a period of reflection on what to do after curacy. I got very angry with God in one of my recent prayer sessions, as I have been on the path from discernment to ordination to priesthood now for 14 years. “Come on,” I cried out, ” it’s long enough, give me a clue, will you, on the path where my ministry should go?!” Funnily enough, in the evening after that prayer, I picked up a book at the page which had the “Pioneers’ Prayer” on it, and certainly, pioneer ministry is something which I do feel increasingly called to. My virtual ministry is venturing into new areas and I feel it’s a unique “pioneering” ministry which perhaps I should fully focus on. I hope some of my followers agree, too.

But back to Psalm 58. This is undoubtedly a very difficult Psalm. The writer cries out about the wicked who “have venom like a serpent” (v4), who have “fangs like young lions” and that God should “break the teeth in their mouths” (verse 6). 

Even though we do get angry, especially when we look at the innumerable injustices in our society and, indeed, injustice against our planet, which cannot speak for itself, we do have to keep tempering our emotions. We should continually remind ourselves that the greatest commandment of all is to “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Most of the problems of the world would not exist if we lived by this advice.

Meditation

1. Find something to relfect on 

You may wish to reflect on the injustice in the world as signified by verse 1, or you may prefer to reflect on the words of Jesus “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

2. FIND A QUIET PLACE. 

Make sure that you are in a quiet place. Sit comfortably but alert – feet flat on the floor, back pushed hard against the back of the chair. Start your reflection with hands cupped open ready to be open to God’s presence.

3. Focus on your breathing.

Pay attention to in-breaths and out-breaths. You may think of breathing in God’s life and peace and breathing out any tension.

4. Be aware of your body.

Let your aches and pains be there. Rest your hands in your lap; you don’t need to be doing anything with them now. Rest your feet on the floor; you don’t need to go anywhere. Shrug your shoulders, ease your neck. Take time to become still…

5. Say the verses aloud to yourself.

Say verse 1 to yourself and bring your “burden” to God. Place it “in your cupped hands.”

6. Listen to what God is saying to you

In the stillness, listen to what God might be saying to you about loving your neighbour. Finish with the prayer below.

7. Finish with this prayer:

Loving God, deliver us from a world without justice and a future without mercy; in your mercy, establish justice, and in your justice, remember the mercy revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

Posted on October 28th 2021

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