Psalm 16, 27 April 14

Like the twenty-third, this is a psalm of trust and rest in divine presence, the source of goodness and guidance. The description of God as the psalmist’s portion and cup evoke familiar imagery in themes that connect not only with Christian ritual but daily life.

Esztergom manuscript
15thC antiphonary in Esztergom, Hungary

Less familiar but interesting is the image in verse 6:

The boundary lines have fallen for me in (or enclose) pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage

presumably referring to the lot and well-favoured estate, physical and otherwise, inherited by the psalmist. There are several other ideas floating around; for example the apostle Peter, mentioned last week, quoted the later verses of the psalm in Acts 2, declaring that David was foretelling Christ and the resurrection.

As we read and reflect on this and the other lectionary selections, Len and Sue will provide insights from their extensive experience in human and social services, referring to different images of the divine, always greater than our sometimes diminished conceptions and expectations.


The chosen antiphonal music (PFAS 16D) will use the familiar pattern of verses sung to a simple tone (a line of verse on a single note with the last few syllables on a concluding cadence). And speaking of diminishing, the response has been reduced by sharing in halves:

Cantors: My heart is glad and my spirit rejoices

People: My body shall rest in hope.

Psalm Team Singers

  • 27 April. This Sunday; assemble in fine voice and spirit early on Sunday to join the cantor in rendering the antiphon to support Len and Sue.
  • 2 May. The call is out for singers for Yarralumla on that Friday evening  – please contact one of the music team if you can sing.

Some additional notes follow.

NotesCodex cover

  1. This being the last Sunday in the month, the male voice group would normally be gracing us with their harmonies. But we are also diminished by the non-trivial matter of school holidays. The male voice group begs your indulgence and will appear next on 11 May when you may once again relish the pure delights of the aforementioned twenty-third psalm. We hope to be back in the last-Sunday groove in May and June.
  2. These are not the only diminished elements this week. Your cantor/webmaster was cooking up a little four-part arrangement featuring the half-diminished chord: 1, b3, b5, b7 annotated as Φ – also known sometimes as the minor 6th depending on the root. It’s been favoured by many composers in minor sequences over the years but in modern usage particularly associated with latin sounds, like those of Antonio Carlos Jobim. A little more demanding to sing than 135. However, please excuse this technical diversion and we’ll keep that one for a rainy day.
  3. Esztergom became the centre of the Orthodox church in Hungary after the Turks invaded from the south during the Ottoman Wars in the 15th century. Many treasured manuscripts like the one shown were removed northwards and rest in the library near the cathedral there.


3 thoughts on “Psalm 16, 27 April 14

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