Psalm 25, 21 Feb 21

Image: Wikicommons

The second acrostic in the Psalter (in Hebrew at least), the 22 verses of Psalm 25 neatly fit the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This week we hear the first ten verses, in which David turns his eyes firmly to a benevolent, but justly balanced, God.

Here, David apparently shares none of our wobbles as to whether God is there or listening. He calls for guidance in reaching the heart of ‘truth’, a quest in which doubt can similarly cloud the way forward:

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all day long.

Where the psalmist does wobble is in recalling his past. How many can look back on early years and say: ‘How wise and sensible I was’? For some there is a real cringe at reckless behaviour or hurtful decisions, perhaps in teen or YA years. David has the answer:

Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
No reckless behaviour or crazy decisions in evidence in this mid-summer street festival — but any regrets about last night?

Remembering the past ‘according to love’ sounds a good plan. And as for the future, David recommends the same yardstick:

10 All the paths of God are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep the covenant and decrees.

Easy?

🎵

Looking for options for a sung psalm? A list from our regular sources appears in the main page on Psalm 25: Justice for guidance>

At Woden Valley, subject to leaders’ choices, it comes down to

  • Together in Song 14, by Christopher Willcock, ‘To you O Lord I lift up my soul’. Like most Willcock settings in the book, this is tuneful and enjoyable. It benefits from a soloist who is comfortable reading music, or learning melody to a level of confidence that the flow and meaning of the words are allowed to become the dominant consideration.
  • A home-grown composition, presaged in the Crystal Ball, follows a simple harmony line on descending chords Dm, CΔ, Bb, A7. An underlying feeling of hemiola, varying in beat emphasis between verse rhythm and refrain, may take some time to absorb.

Last week’s video sample was from the late Renaissance. So it might be time for a modern interpretation. This is one, ‘Remember me’, is by Canadian singer-songwriter, Steve Bell:

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