To you I call, O LORD my Rock; Do not be deaf to my loud cry. I’ll be like those gone down to death, If you are silent in reply.
Receive my plea for mercy, LORD, As now I call to you for grace, As I lift up my hands in prayer And look to your Most Holy Place.
O drag me not away with those Who practise wickedness and sin, Who kindly to their neighbours speak But harbour malice deep within.
Repay them for their evil deeds And for their acts of wickedness; Bring back on them what they deserve And punish their unrighteousness.
Because the LORD’s works they despise And treat his actions with disdain, In justice he will tear them down And never build them up again.
Praise to the LORD, for he has heard The plea for mercy which I made. He is my strength, he is my shield; I trust in him who sends me aid.
My heart uplifted leaps for joy; My thanks to him I gladly sing. The LORD God is his people’s strength, A saving fortress for his king.
LORD, save your people, your own flock; Be pleased your heritage to bless. Be their good shepherd; carry them For ever in your faithfulness.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the lovely tune Walton here.
Nowadays places of peace and reconciliation are sought by people seeking to heal the wounds of history, to learn to live with difference and to build a culture of peace.
During my recent sabbatical I spent time in churches and communities learning about peace and reconciliation in this country and in Germany. There was also a retreat in the lovely, peaceful Quaker Centre at Woodbrooke. It has beautiful grounds where people can be still and silent. The course was about looking at the Psalms as poetry.
On the stunning timeline at Crookham depicting 500 years of conflict and peace is the question, “What will you do for peace?”
Gracious Lord, During this Advent season help us to read worship texts and Psalm prayers more reflectively seeking deeper insights. Help us to remember those who are building communities of peace and reconciliation. In times of stress may we respond to those who ask us to give time and energy with joyful, loving hearts in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Amen
The Rev’d Mary Taylor is the minister of Selkirk URC in the Synod of Scotland and Crookham URC in the Northern Synod