Psalm 63 O God, you are my God alone, whom eagerly I seek, though longing fills my soul with thirst and leaves my body weak. Just like a dry and barren land awaits a freshening shower, I long within your house to see our glory and your power.
Your faithful love surpasses life, evoking all my praise. Through every day, to bless your name, my hand in joy I’ll raise. My deepest needs you satisfy as with a sumptuous feast. So, on my lips and in my heart your praise has never ceased.
Through-out the night I lie in bed and call you, Lord, to mind; in darkest hours I meditate how God, my strength, is kind. Beneath the shadow of your wing, I live and feel secure; and daily as I follow close, your right hand keeps me sure.
I love the Psalms as they cover the spectrum of human emotions. Whilst many are designated Psalms of David, it is likely that some were written by ‘ordinary’ people, some by those in positions of responsibility and some by David (or on his behalf). It is this levelling up that I love: whether ruler or ruled, king or pauper, they express the emotions, experiences, concerns, worries, angst and anger of real people.
This one begins with great confidence in God, but swiftly has a glimpse of vulnerability. It moves on into further expressions of confidence and a reassuring reliance on God through day and night.
How many of us have felt exhausted by life, troubled by situations and relationships, anxious about decisions or communications and found solace in prayer, reflection, contemplation or mindfulness? How many times have we felt things are hopeless or hideous and been able to stop and look back and realise we have got through the tough times or been able to remind ourselves that the struggles will end? We may be good at giving thanks in the times when life is positive and easy and yet find it more difficult to appreciate that God is with us when things are hard and we are overwhelmed. This Psalm reminds us that God is with us in all times and all places. And is there for us to turn to. And walks with us in the struggles.
When all else fails, God still is.
The Psalms give us glimpses of life in all its fullness, a validation of our struggles and an acknowledgement of our triumphs. The stories we read reflect the world inhabited by humanity for all time. Let us remind ourselves of this when we have the strength to cope so that when things feel harder we can turn again to God- source of all life and love, bringer of hope and faithful presence.
Loving God, so often we struggle to be real. We fear authenticity. We act as we think people expect instead of how we really feel. May we find space to consider your place in our lives. May we find time to give thanks for your constant presence in our hearts. May we find the strength to be ourselves, to know we are enough, to be honest, to be open, to trust in you. AMEN.
The Revd Jenny Mills, Secretary for Education and Learning.