Coronavirus Pandemic Thursday 23rd April 2020

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19; Isaiah 25:1-5; 1 Peter 1:8b-12

 Thursday 23 April  - Rev.Jerry Eve

 The one verse that stands out for me today above all others as I read through the psalm, Old Testament and epistle is Psalm 116:16: “I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did.

 There’s uncertainty about the author of this psalm. It’s said to have some Aramaisms in it (the Book of Daniel is written in Aramaic, and Jesus spoke Aramaic), and so it may be quite late in composition. It may therefore relate to the tribulations experienced by the Jewish people in that intertestamental time of the Maccabees.

 Alternatively, some have said that it relates to King Hezekiah’s illness recounted in Isaiah 38. Isaiah is ill and Isaiah predicts his death, whereupon Hezekiah turns his face to the wall, prays, and is then granted a further 15 years of life by God.

 The strongest theory, though, is that, although there is no title as such, it is still a psalm of David. In that case it could relate to any of quite a number of life-threatening, heart-stopping moments in David’s life e.g. when Saul comes to the cave in which David is hiding (see 1 Samuel 24).

What’s puzzling, I think, is the reference to ‘mother’. Why would whoever wrote this remember their mother’s rather than their father’s (or their parents’) faith? If it was by David, then why would he single out someone whose name we don’t even know from the Bible itself (it’s not until the Talmud that we learn her name was Nitzevet) and ignore Jesse who’s celebrated in numerous examples of church art all over the world in all sorts of mediums as the root and branch of Christian heritage?

 There are two other references to David’s mum. One is in Psalm 86:16 which is ‘a prayer by David’: “I serve you, just as my mother did.” And the other is in 1 Samuel 22:3-4 when David, having fled from Saul, secures Jesse and his mother’s safety for the time being by placing them with the King of Moab.

 Peter, who wrote our epistle, would have had a mum as well, although we know more about his mother-in-law (see Matthew 8:14-15). She’s sick in bed with a fever when Jesus goes into Peter’s home, and we can only hope that Jesus didn’t just heal her so that she would then be able to “wait on him”!

 Let us pray:

 God,

 People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centred. Help us to forgive them anyway.

If we are kind people may accuse us of selfish, ulterior motives. Help us to be kind anyway.

If we are successful we will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Help us to succeed anyway.

If we are honest and sincere people may deceive us. Help us to be honest and sincere anyway.

What we spend years creating others could destroy overnight. Help us to create anyway.

If we find serenity and happiness some may be jealous. Help us to be happy anyway.

The good we do today will often be forgotten. Help us to do good anyway.

Give the best we have and it will never be enough. Help us to give our best anyway.

In the final analysis it is between us and you, God. It was never between us and them anyway,

 Amen. (Mother Teresa)


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