The readings this week start with Noah and that rainbow covenant in Genesis, running through to John baptising Jesus and being arrested for his trouble. Quite a span.
In the heart of this series nestles the psalm, one of the acrostic psalms in which each verse starts with one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (We read verses 1 to 10). It starts with a brief but bold call:
To you, O God, I lift up my soul.
Perhaps at school you learned this poem by William Wordsworth:
My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky/So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man / So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man / And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety.
Back to the psalm. Recognising the value of seeking truth and humility, the psalmist trusts that youthful transgressions will be forgotten (verse 7). That certainly rings a bell. These ideas are a link with the season of Lent, which begins this Sunday. Introduced in this first half of the verses, the ideas are expanded in the unopened second half.
The psalmist declares that on our journey we should trust an upright God:
… who instructs defaulters in the way, leads the humble in what is right, and teaches right paths (vs 8, 9)
Our normal sources have several options for music. We have sung TiS14 on previous occasions — a nice response by Willcock with slightly more challenging verses suitable to sight-readers.
A mix-and-match of a simple tone and TiS14 refrain would not out of order. However, to reach for beautiful simplicity, our women will lead us in singing what we loosely call the South Woden Communion song with a simple tone for the verses. The refrain quotes one of the central themes in verses 4 and 5: