Coronavirus Pandemic Monday 27th April, 2020

Psalm 134; Genesis 18:1-14; 1 Peter 1:23-25

 Monday 27 April - Rev. Jerry Eve

 Our psalm today, which is still not the shortest (that title goes to Psalm 117!), is still very short. It’s the last of fifteen consecutive psalms that are all titled ‘A Song of Ascents’. If you have the time, you may want to read them all. They’re full of hope, and reading from the start of Psalm 120 you will come across familiar passages such as, “I look to the hills; where will my help come from?”, “If the Lord does not build the house, the work of the builders is useless.”, and, “As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me.”

 There are various theories about why they are called songs of ascent. One is that they were written to be sung by pilgrims ‘going up’ to Jerusalem three times a year for Passover, Harvest Festival and the Festival of Shelters (see Deuteronomy 16:6).

 Another is that they were written to be sung and played by the priests and Levites who worked in the Temple, and who stood on fifteen steps that led from one courtyard to another so that the sound would carry, and they might be heard. Psalm 134 is a sort of ‘full stop’ and ‘good night’ – the encore maybe, and then the house lights come on, and everyone goes home.

 I currently serve on Presbytery’s ‘Interfaith Matters’ Committee, and one of the Christian doctrines I avoid mentioning whenever I’m with Muslims is the Trinity. I may be wrong to do so, but I feel there’s so much we have in common that it would be quite churlish to bring up any such possible bones of contention so-to-speak. I do, however, like the Trinity. And I know Muslims have 99 names for Allah and that must be a help, but the idea of God as a ‘community’ or a ‘family’ that is central to our Christian faith, rather than a single figure with noone to turn to, I do find comforting.

 Christian theologians trace the origins of this doctrine back to Genesis 18, and the visit to Abraham and Sarah by ‘three men’. Incidentally, so far as I know, this is the only passage in the whole of the Bible where somebody laughs (verse 12), but I’d be really pleased to be wrong about this, if you know of somewhere else. I don’t think of Scripture as dour, but there are those who do, and because of this I think it would be good to be able to point to places where that isn’t true.

 And then we’ve our epistle – from Peter, that rock on which the church is built, and keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven itself, with a quotation from Isaiah, telling us that, just as God is so in three persons, we as God’s children are part of that same family and community as well.

 Let us pray:

 Save me, Lord!

 Amen. (a prayer by St Peter from Matthew 14:30)

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