Thoughts for Friday 26th June 2020

Psalm 13; 2 Chronicles 20:5-12; Galatians 5:7-12

 

Friday 26 June - Rev.  Jerry  Eve

 

One of the great strengths of our Judeo-Christian heritage is the importance we attach to music. There are numerous songs scattered throughout the pages of the Old and New Testaments, and the book of Psalms is itself a song book. The word ‘sing’ pops up 75 times (see verse 6), and ‘song’ 37 times. What a shame it is that we don’t have the music that would have accompanied these words.

 

Here in Scotland, it’s been interesting to note that, although since 2010 our Free Church have permitted the singing of hymns, and their accompaniment by musical instruments, they have also thankfully retained their practice of unaccompanied Gaelic psalm singing. I have wondered whether this is a style that is closer to the original than our use of Crimond, for example, for the 23rd Psalm. The Gaelic tradition, though, does only date back to the middle of the 17th century AD, and the psalms themselves are full of references to the use of instrumentation – harps, lyres and drums.

 

Also of interest today is that, while we are all anticipating getting back in to our Church buildings, our Old Testament reading at verse 9 talks about how, when there’s an epidemic, we should actually stand outside, and pray. Verse 10 refers to modern-day Jordan. Situated on the east bank of the River, the origins of Ammon and Moab (see Genesis 19:30-38) make quite unsavoury reading. If you do read this passage as well today, though, do please make sure that you also read verse 8 earlier on in the same chapter, which some theologians claim then sets what is purported to have happened later on in context. The Edomites (who lived more in what we might call Transjordan in the south), by the way, were descendants of Esau (see Genesis 36:9).

 

Paul’s anger in our New Testament passage could be described as seething. Although what he says in verse 12 is actually hyperbole, and not to be taken literally, it does however remind me of Origen (c.184 – c.253). Possibly the most important Christian theologian of all time, he was born in Alexandria, and wrote extensively. There can hardly be a minister who hasn’t had to read some of his writings, and yet for most of us, I suspect, the thing we mainly remember about him is the early Church historian, Eusebius’s, claim that he castrated himself. Whether or not this was actually true is a matter for debate among scholars to this day.

 

Let us pray:

 

Lord, inspire me to read your Scriptures and to meditate upon them day and night. I beg you to give me real understanding of what I read, that I in turn may put its precepts into practice. Yet, I know that understanding and good intentions are worthless, unless rooted in your graceful love. So I ask that the words of Scripture may also be not just signs on a page, but channels of grace into my heart,

 

Amen (a prayer by Origen of Alexandria)


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