Psalm 27, 13 Mar 22

This psalm offers encouragement in difficult times — and we certainly have our share of those. The psalmist skilfully weaves together two powerful and apposite threads.

Image: Libby O’Loghlin

First is the imagery of light, and our need for beauty and goodness. Calling to mind references to the ‘light of the world’ (John 8:12) and ‘light upon my path’ (Ps. 119:105), it is a theme found in many psalms:

God is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? God is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?” (1)

The psalmist asks but one thing, to dwell in that divine aura forever, to see beauty all around and commune with that spirit of love. (4)

The second thread in this song is the idea of refuge — protection, salvation and shelter. This attribute of heavenly care is also mentioned frequently in the Psalter. Here, David feels that his enemies surround him; his answer is to sing. (6)

The psalmist thus merges illumination, guidance and clarity together with security and forgiveness.


Psalmus David, priusquam liniretur. Dominus illuminatio mea et salus mea: quem timebo?

At Woden Valley, the regular cantor is busy playing piano elsewhere so psalm singing during March is depleted. However, rich pickings await the enthusiastic psalm singer.

Just to name a couple, lovely settings are on offer in Together in song — TiS 16, a nice Willcock song best presented by an experienced soloist — and in Psalms for All Seasons, including the beautiful Taizé chorus The Lord is my light.

For the latter, take up your favourite battered old oud, harp, lyre or even uke, and sing the verses to a simple tone or improvised free plainsong.

Poster of a popular Turkish oud exponent — a pleasant surprise seen hidden away in a country farm hut near Cappadocia. (The owner, a musician and fan, needed no encouragement to pull out his own battered oud.)

Read more on this psalm and its music in the main page Psalm 27: Light and Refuge.

A home-grown refrain for Psalm 27

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