Jenny's Psalm Reflections: 67 verse 1

Long jetty with candles

This week’s verse is Psalm 67 verse 1.

 "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us.”

Background:

Psalm 67 is entitled “The Nations Called to Praise God.” Its theme is a prayer for God's mercy, blessing and light. In the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer, this psalm is appointed to be read on the evening of the 12th day of the month, and it may be recited as a canticle in the Anglican liturgy of Evening Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer as an alternative to the Nunc dimittis, when it is referred to as the “Deus misereatur”, also “A Song of God's Blessing”.

In essence, the Psalm depicts the love and wellbeing that flow from God, and, which are to be shared, by not only priests in their communities, but by all people, as in verse 3,” Let all the peoples praise you” and to all the earth as in verse 2 “your way may be known upon earth.”

As God’s love shines upon us, so we should shine in the world ourselves. Many people pray with a candle near them, symbolising God, or Jesus as the light of the world. It’s difficult in the dark days of winter but I do like the dim lit mornings, the lighting of a candle and a morning prayer time. The light of the candle is very atmospheric and reminds me of God’s presence, the light glows in my face, and I hope that after that prayer time, the light of God is reflected in all that I do.

Singing, of course, is the ultimate way to praise God. For many years I was in different choirs including Chester Music Society Choir, the Chester St. Cecilia Singers, and the Halle choir in Manchester. The tremendous feeling of singing the famous oratorios whether in a sacred environment such as Chester Cathedral or in the more secular Bridgewater Hall, the collaborative spirit running through us and joint emotion was overwhelming. Christians, agnostics, or atheists, all together making a wonderful sound, and that moment of silence at the end when the final note is sung. You could hear a pin drop. And then the thunder of applause. A taste of heaven on earth!

Meditation

1. FIND A QUIET PLACE. 

Make sure that you are in a quiet place. Place a plant, leaf or flower in front of you. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 and repeat verses 1 to yourself and intersperse this with periods of looking at the candle in front of you. Enjoy that flickering light and feel God’s presence.

4. Listen to God

In the stillness listen to what God might be saying to you. Finish with the prayer below.

5. Finish with this prayer:

Heavenly Father, your light and glory have been demonstrated to us through the incarnation of your Son, Jesus Christ. With all your people, may we make known your grace and walk in the ways of peace.  For your name’s sake, Amen

Posted on February 3rd 2022

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