Thoughts for Tuesday 18th August, 2020

Psalm 87; Isaiah 43:8-13; Romans 11:13-29

 

Tuesday 18 August

 

There are two words in this psalm that aren’t always written down as part of the psalm. The first is in the title, A psalm by the clan of Korah; and the second comes at the end of verses 3 and 8: selah. Taking Korah first, Korah in the Old Testament was someone who, in Numbers 16, rebelled against Moses. Although he perished at that time, sons of his survived, one of whom then went on to become ancestor, for example, to the great prophet, Samuel.

 

There are 11 psalms of Korah in the Bible (42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 84, 85, 87 & 88), and it can be instructive to go through them one by one, and wonder whether they are written with the original Korah in mind. It would have been less painful, it seems to me, for the clan to have found a new name, rather than continue its association with someone who Jude in the New Testament is still citing as an example of a false teacher (see Jude 1:11). What that name maybe does, though, is to then make members of that clan even more faithful, as they attempt to exonerate themselves as people of God – and thereby clear their name.

 

Selah is a word we find scattered throughout the psalms. There are also 3 uses of it in the Book of Habakkuk. And while there are quite a number of theories as to what it might mean, one is that it was an instruction to the ‘orchestra’ to play a short musical interlude.

 

Moving to our New Testament reading, this notion of Christianity growing out of Judaism is a good one, I think; for the reason that it’s a good antidote to antisemitism. It always seems strange to me that Paul, in his letters, so rarely refers to any of the sayings or stories of Jesus. Here, though, I do wonder whether he’s maybe taken Jesus’ assertion that, ‘I am the vine, God is the gardener, and we are the branches’ in John 15, as a basis, in order to make his point i.e. of how important it is for Paul that Christians believe.

 

Let us pray:

 

(from ‘Place for Pause A WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHURCH AND COUNTRY’; https://churchofscotland.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/69013/Transcript-for-the-Tuesday-18-August-morning-reflection.pdf)

 

Loving God, these words of lament have no sell-by date; they are timely now as ever.

And so we cry out for those who have suffered, and suffer still –

the homeless, the marginalised, the excluded.

And maybe we are praying for ourselves?

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Ever present God, we are keen to move to times of rejoicing.

But now we would tarry a while,

sitting with those who suffer,

remembering with those who have lost

and being silent with those who have no words to offer.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

And yet, O God, we dare to hope

when we remember too that

your faithful love never ends

and that your mercies never cease.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer - our prayer of gratitude.

 

Constant and trustworthy God, great is your faithfulness.

This morning, might we know your love and mercy afresh.

This morning, might we sense anew that you are the same

from everlasting to everlasting and yet new

with the dawning, fresh as the dew of the morning.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

And so go in peace

and may the blessing of the Creator,

the Saviour

and the Sustainer be yours in full

 

AMEN.


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