Thoughts for Thursday 10th September 2020

Psalm 103:8-13; Genesis 37:12-36; 1 John 3:11-16

 

Thursday 10 September

 

‘Rule, Britannia!’ has been in the news recently, and I haven’t kept up to date with the story, but I think this coming Saturday at ‘The Last Night of the Proms’ there may (or maybe not – I’m not sure?) be just an orchestral rendition of Thomas Arne’s tune. The reason I mention this at all is because of Ednam, a little place near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. Which is remarkable for the number of poets who have been associated with it over the years. These include Rev Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) who, as well as Abide with me, wrote the best-known hymn to be based on Psalm 103: Praise, my soul, the king of heaven. He was born there. And so too was James Thomson (1700-1748) who wrote, ‘Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves. Britons never shall be slaves’ for a masque about Alfred the Great to be performed before the Prince of Wales in 1740.

 

Have a look at Lyte’s second-most famous hymn, and you’ll notice that lines such as, ‘Slow to chide and swift to bless,’ and ‘Father-like he tends and spares us,’ have been taken from that portion of the psalm we’ve been asked to read today.

 

When it comes to the Albert Hall and whether there’s a conflict between what takes place there each year and the aims of Black Lives Matter, while I’m not about to defend Thomson’s lyric, it is worth noting that it was written at a time when quite a large number of British people themselves had actually become enslaved by pirates operating from along the North African coast. Lyte, incidentally, organised an 1833 petition to Parliament requesting the abolition of slavery altogether throughout Great Britain.

 

The other hymn (or chorus) I like based on Psalm 103 is the Taizé chant, Bless the Lord, my soul:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4Svh-9ohg4

 

Let us pray:

 

(from Taizé Daily Prayers)

 

Risen Christ, you fill our lives with your compassion so that we may always seek you.

 

Risen Christ, you know our longing: lead us on the path of eternity.

 

Risen Christ, we pray to you for those who are just beginning to know you.

 

Risen Christ, we pray to you for those who cannot believe: your love is always offered.

 

Risen Christ, you are the support of those who encounter difficulties and discouragement: lead us on the path of eternity.

 

Risen Christ, we pray to you for those who have been victims of violence and humiliation: come to heal their wounds.

 

Risen Christ, you guide us by your Spirit: gather all the nations into your Kingdom.

 

Bless us, Christ Jesus; you show us where to find rest for our hearts,

 

Amen.

 


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