Revd Matt Hodder's Reflection for Sunday 18th October 2020

A thought from the Curate….

 

Psalm 147

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.

 

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“So what do you do for work?”

 

The question came at me over the sound of scissors snipping and clippers clipping.

 

“Well,” I said, “I’m a deacon in the Church of England.” (I’m pretty sure you can guess the next question!)

 

“Oh, right. What’s a deacon.”

 

The conversation followed on from there in a fairly usual pattern until my barber switched off the clippers, looked at me and said, “You know, I’ve read some of the bible. I’ve read the gospels and found them fascinating. I should read more really. What should I read next?”

 

Ah, what a glorious question to be asked! But what to say back? My mind raced silently.…well there are the letters of Paul, or the stories of the Hebrew people, maybe even the laws in Leviticus! (or maybe not.)

 

So much to choose from!

 

“If I were you,” I said, “I’d read the Psalms.”

 

“The what?”

 

“The Psalms. They are wonderful.”

 

“Oh right, what’s the point of them then?”

 

To be completely honest, although that question seemed a little demeaning, upon reflection it was quite a good one to ask. It’s probably a good question to ask about a lot of stuff to do with our faith and the church.

 

You see for me, the Psalms speak of real life. They’re an honest, no holds barred portrait of the life of a child of God. For across the 150 Psalms included in the bible we find the whole picture of human existence. There are Psalms which tell of despair and hopelessness. Psalms where the author is so angry that they’re shouting and screaming at God. I kind of like these ones. Although I’m not often in the habit of screaming at God, I take comfort in knowing that others have done so. There are Psalms of lament and grief; where the author is so downtrodden that they know the only place to go is to look to God. But there are also Psalms which speak of the love, joy and the hope which we find in God. Today’s Psalm (147) is one of hope and praise. It speaks of how good it is to sing songs to God. Perhaps this is something felt quite keenly at the moment with the current restrictions on singing in church.

 

Whatever our personal circumstances we can find comfort and joy from reading and sharing in the Psalms. Perhaps in the present predicament we find ourselves, with worry and fear around us and the future somewhat unknown, it might be a good idea for us to read and re-read the Psalms.

 

Maybe this week you might join me in reading some of the Psalms. As a church community we can share in the trials and tribulations, the highs and lows with one another. And I suspect as we go, we might find a Psalm for each and every occasion.

 

*If you’ve never read a Psalm before, how about giving these ones a try this week….Psalm 100, Psalm 103, Psalm 98, Psalm 116, Psalm 24.


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