URC Daily Devotion Sunday, 29 October 2023

Sunday, 29 October 2023

Psalm 8
 

How great is your name, O Lord our God,
through all the earth!

Your majesty is praised above the heavens;
on the lips of children and of babes 
you have found praise to foil your enemy,
to silence the foe and the rebel.

When I see the heavens, the work of your hands,
the moon and the stars which you arranged,
what are we that you should keep us in mind,
men and women that you care for us?

Yet you have made us little less than gods;
and crowned us with glory and honour,
gave us power over the works of your hands,
put all things under our feet.

All of them, sheep and cattle,
yes, even the savage beasts,
birds of the air, and fish
that make their way through the waters.

How great is your name, O Lord our God
through all the earth!

Reflection
 
In the days when Sunday School anniversary was celebrated by special services, an anthem setting of this psalm was the special choir piece in the evening service one year.  Thinking back over 60 years I can still feel the shock of “What is man, that thou art mindful of him and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”  “Why can only men sing this?”  Not that I was thinking “inclusively”, merely following the simple logic that it was an all-age, mixed choir, singing about man.   

Twenty years ago I was thwarted, when given a less than inclusive version to read on the spot, and I realised it was difficult to change it to inclusive language without time to reflect on each whole sentence.   Out of my frustration I offer this meditation / prayer 

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!
Not father or mother – but the one who creates through all the earth.  

Your majesty is praised above the heavens;
even as cosmologists talk of dark stars made of dark matter 
on the lips of children and of babes    
you have found praise to foil your enemy,
to silence the foe and the rebel.
when “religion shaming” happens to those who acknowledge you.

When I see the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you arranged,
as astronomers celebrate the first year of the James Webb space telescope with the wonderful images it sends back,
what are we that you should keep us in mind, men and women that you care for us?

When the shameful Illegal Migrant Bill is passed into law how can we really claim:
Yet you have made us little less than gods; and crowned us with glory and honour,
gave us power over the works of your hands, put all things under our feet.
After a year of record breaking temperatures, droughts and floods why did you give us such power? 

Not only fossil fuels but the breeding for “bigger and better”, the genetic manipulation, even accidental manipulation and mutilation by plastic pollution of the ecosystem 
All of them, sheep and cattle, yes, even the savage beasts, 
birds of the air, and fish that make their way through the waters.
All of them disrupted – even as an egg-laying ground for the almost unknown deep sea Pacific White Skate is found, so mining companies are set to start deep-sea mining.

Where might your great name be found:
How great is your name, O Lord our God
through all the earth!

may it be so. 
 

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Ruth Browning, retired minister, worshipping at Thornbury URC

Copyright

The Psalms: An Inclusive Language Version based on the Grail translation from the Hebrew
© 1963, 1986 The Grail (England) GIA Publications

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