URC Daily Devotion Sunday 19 March 2023

Sunday 19 March 2023
Psalm 127
Unless the Lord constructs the house,
the builders work in vain;
the Lord alone designs and builds
foundations that remain.

2 Unless the Lord is keeping watch
the city cannot stand;
the sentry guards the gates in vain
without God’s mighty hand.

3 In vain you labour night and day,
by constant care oppressed;
the Lord supplies his loved ones’ needs
and grants them sleep and rest.

4 The Lord designed the family,
providing earthly love;
our children are his heritage
a gift from heaven above.

5 Like weapons in a warrior’s hand
are those who bear our name;
with them we face a hostile world
assured, and free from shame.

Mollie Knight (1917 – 1993)
© Trevor Knight/Jubilate Hymns
CCLI licence number 1064776
You can hear the suggested tune, St Anne, here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_ZTlOUsMJI

This Psalm has hidden gaps between its sentences – gaps which represent many of the dividing lines in life we experience in life.

This Psalm appeals to the home – or nest maker within us. It plays upon contemporary sensibilities as expressed in television programmes such as Grand Designs and Escape to the Chateau. But at the same time it is a Psalm of royalty and national government. The Psalm’s mention of “house” refers to the Temple, guards on Jerusalem’s city walls implies national security, and the “sons in the quiver” are probably the royal line of succession – a continuation of the royal line of David. This Psalm was possibly written by a Bronze Age contemporary of our own Poet Laureate. The divide between domestic life and the royal courts couldn’t be larger.

The dividing lines could also delineate the space between heaven and earth too. The Palmist calls on us to bring God into the heart of our decision making processes, whether making the family home or establishing the economy of an entire country. But do we really believe our prayers will make it to heaven, or fall somewhere in the gap between, so we stay silent?

But the implications of not praying are stark. Life risks becoming unnecessarily laborious and meaningless without the divine presence. So let us pray!

Gracious God, thank you that you have closed the gap between the divine and humanity.
As we face making decisions that can affect the future of family, friend or stranger
may we invite you into the heart of that decision making process.
Whether we are considering issues of shelter, security or the wellbeing of our families
may we keep you in our mind’s eye,
and inquire of you what is best for our souls.
We ask this in Jesus’ name



Today’s writer

Daniel Harris, Community Minister , Rochdale, Bury and North Manchester Missional Partnership.


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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