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"Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob."


Psalm 81 is entitled “God’s Appeal to Stubborn Israel” and is concerned with celebration and repentance. The beginning of the psalm is like a hymn (verses 1–5b), which is followed by an oracle (verses 5c–16). In particular, verses 6-10 describe 'God's deliverance of his people from Egypt', whereas verses 11-16 recall the past disobedience of the people and promise to give victory over their enemies if they obey God.

There are many references to sound and music in this Psalm. In verse 2 we read “raise a song, sound the tambourine and the sweet lyre with the harp.” Verse 3 mentions the blowing of the trumpet to the new moon. For some of you reading this Psalm you will empathise with the power of music to be transcendent and to fill our hearts with another aspect of experiencing God. For others, music is perhaps a bad memory evoking memories of school music classes and dreaded singing lessons.

I was brought up on music with my father being a music teacher. I used to sleep at his feet under the piano when he was practising, learned piano myself, and also violin and flute and, later on, I much enjoyed singing at university and in city choirs. Whatever your experience of music, I am sure you will agree that sound, whether narratives, praising God in anthems or playing musical instruments echoes the eternal call of God to us. We are called to praise  him in everything we have and do.

Listen to this happy version of a Hallelujah chorus with a distinct Caribbean flavour and enjoy the thankfulness expressed in this happy piece of music!


1. FIND A Relaxing 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 by being open and ready to God’s presence.

2. Focus on your breathing.

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.

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 quietly verse 1. Think of the image of praising to God and reflect on what you are thankful for today.

4. Listen to God 

Then, in the stillness, listen to what God might be saying to you.

5. Finish with this prayer:

Father of mercy, keep us joyful in the knowledge of your love for us. Let us sing to the Lord. Amen.

Posted on November 10th 2022

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