Sunday 30th May
O God, we have heard what our parents have told,
what wonders you did in the great days of old.
O Lord, you alone are our God and our King!
Recalling those victories, your praises we sing.
2. If we had forgotten the name of our God
or worshiped an idol with hands spread abroad
would not the Almighty uncover this sin?
For God knows our hearts and the secrets within.
3. Yet all the day long for your sake we’re consumed,
defeated, derided, to death we are doomed.
Then why do you tarry? O God, now awake!
Remember your people; arise for our sake.
4. O why are you hiding the light of your face,
forgetting our burden, our grief and disgrace?
Our souls are bowed down and we cling to the dust;
rise, help, and redeem us; your mercy we trust.
Bert Polman, alt. © 1987 Faith Alive Christian Resources
You can hear the tune, Foundation, here
This Psalm can be divided into three; the past, present and future. It is a contemplative poem giving us direction. It acknowledges all the glorious miracles that God did for His children in the past and recognises that our forebears didn’t win great battles by their own strength, but through the radiant presence of God and the display of His mighty power, came victory.
The writer of the Psalm then enters the present day and prose of despair; feeling tossed aside, forgotten, left alone to cope without God’s help. The writer feels scorned, mocked, worthless and cursed and they express feeling overwhelmed despite not breaking covenant with God. In verse 18: ‘Our heart has not turned back’, they have not left God and their hearts are still His.
It all seems very perplexing and maybe this expression of emotion is how we feel, deep down, about the events of the pandemic and life. We are still devoted to the Lord, yet where is He in the midst of sorrow?
The present day expression of hopelessness turns to a prayer from verse 23 on, a prayer for the future; that God would wake up and help. They pray that God’s unfailing love would save them from this sorrow.
Maybe God’s purpose was always for His people to turn their sorrow into prayer?
Have we become more prayerful, as the Body of Christ, over this last year? Have we used the challenges, hurts, grief and confusion of this time, as an opportunity to wail or to worship? Prayer builds a deep, unbreakable relationship between the Lord and His Church. I don’t think it is a coincidence then that the next chapter, Psalm 45, is a love song, some say for the wedding of Jesus and His Bride, the church.
When our hearts are in sorrow Lord, You hear our prayer.
When we turn our face to the Son, You shine and comfort us.
When our mouths are full of praise, You listen with delight.
Your heart sings, Your hands clap and You rejoice with Your Bride.
Jo Patel, Local leader, Wattisfield URC, Norfolk