Psalm 87: Fresh springs

‘Singers and dancers will say: All my fresh springs are in you.‘ (7)

87 and 88 are a couple of very contrasting songs by the Korahites: one looking out happily to ‘Zion’; the other lamenting, no silver lining. Both are omitted from the Lectionary but should not be ignored — and indeed are not by those traditions that regularly sing all of the psalms within a short period of a month or so.

Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God (2)

Psalm 87 praises ‘Zion’, Jerusalem, which means ‘city of peace’, representing God’s presence. A song of global vision, disregarding tribal or national identities, it connects people of the world to this spiritual home, describing a diaspora of those who acknowledge a divine and benevolent creator spirit however named or imagined. It concludes joyously with verse 7 quoted above.

As to the music, there are few classical setting available but several more hymns including Haydn’s traditional AUSTRIAN HYMN tune starting with verse 2 quoted above.

The Emergent Psalter offers the same verse, while PFAS 87F is a swinging refrain picking up the idea of the Creator as source, water in the life-giving springs.