Psalm 15, 29 Jan 17

Psalm 15 (text here>) this week, probably used as an introit or gradual, asks who may dwell in God’s ‘tent’ or ‘holy hill’. The remaining verses provide a checklist of rather challenging qualifiers, from the grand ‘live blameless’ to the nitty-gritty of ‘take no bribes’. The challenge is really encouraging the reader continually to seek to connect with sources of divine presence … Continue reading Psalm 15, 29 Jan 17

Psalm 128

This poem of six verses, like most of the psalms of ascent, is short and simple. It presents an idealised picture of prosperous and happy family life. Surely, this is one of the pillars of a strong community: Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive shoots round about … Continue reading Psalm 128

Psalm 131

Like most songs of Ascent, this is brief and to the point. Three verses extolling simplicity, honesty and humility, with a fourth calling for Israel, or the people of God, to wait in reverence. And as one of the songs of ascent (120 to 134), the poem is said to be one of pilgrimage (see also the comment on … Continue reading Psalm 131

Psalm 127, vespers

This psalm of ascent asserts that 'unless God builds the house, in vain the builders labour.' And without divine protection over a city, the watchmen are wasting their time. The song is clearly worth consideration by anyone undertaking a new project. Then there's a sweet section about the joys of having children, said to be an inspiration … Continue reading Psalm 127, vespers

Psalm 122

Psalm 122 is not only a Song of Ascent (the third) but also one of pilgrimage to the centre of divine love and justice. Psalm 120 told a sorrowful tale of living afar amongst alien people; the next one 121 starts the journey to Jerusalem ("I lift up my eyes to the hills...'); and finally in … Continue reading Psalm 122

Psalm 129

The tenth of the Psalms of Ascent (text) regrets the oppression of the people of God. The psalmist recognises that God is the source of goodness but seeks shame on the oppressor. At the distance of some millenia, it's easy to suggest sniffily that he or she should have been more forgiving of Israel's enemies. However, the psalm was … Continue reading Psalm 129