Tuesday, 24 January 2012

texting psalms 107-150

Relentless Psalms. Still 07729056452, still unlimited.

Ps107-108 The city 107v4 sought for v7 dwelling and v36 fruitfulness. It is God who is sovereign over this city 108 v7-8 and God who will v10 lead us (&teach us to be in it, straining the text a little.) The city again, then, where, in dialogue with you especially, God has brought the city to meditate upon frequently this past year. God, presenting strands of hopes and love for London, and a seeking an ever-deepening theology of the city for both our embodied existence to this our home, and to all the ways that that is mirrored and metaphored throughout all our being. Thinking about the Bible's garden-to-city narrative in thinking about both psychoanalysis and childlikeness, and in all the ways that we are not commanded to return to the prelapsarian state but build with bricks, so our childlikeness is to be a grownup one..

Ps109 v1 Be not silent, O God of my praise. O 'Artists', we, who for pride praise not and preach not and pray not. Be not proud and be not silent. Pride which leads to silence which leads to death. Bang Bang. .. v4 But I give myself to prayer. Give. Myself. To Prayer.Footnote says: I am prayer. Pray thus, totally, as a way of total being. And totally giving: v24 the self-giving emptying of fasting. Pray desperately hungry prayer .. And of prayers against. We pray against an active reality of a personal evil which would be limitlessly destructive. We pray the discontinuation of systemic and generational sins, brokenesses, distortions, corruptions. A cease and desist to resisting God, a full stop to my entanglements in threads of evil, trains of thought, indulged fears and silences.. Might we be not silent today, oh God, for the good of St Marks and the sake of your name. Come Jesus.

Ps110 It is foreign both in its technicalities v4 and in its sense of God's militant holiness v1,5,6. But so He is, because sin deserves such. .. v3 God reclothes us in holy garments, the being-dressed-by and being-dressed-in-white are themes worth visiting, in-vesting one's imagination there. How it feels and what it means to have God clothe us. .. v3 The womb of the day, where the plans God has for us gestate, designed and intentioned. Oh may God make your day amazing, from its birth of dawn, unto a child's day. And now in pregnant sleep, trust we our enwombing God.

Ps111-112 With Crispin's 'why was Solomon given wealth?' (1Kg3-4) in mind, these wisdom psalms are also those one might turn to for a prosperity theology, but such a reading would be superficial ... Suggesting that (i) the wise man or woman 111v12 112v1 images God as the unfallen Adam & Eve, and (ii) the wise one identifies with their community 112v2 v5 v5, then a syllogistic (i) + (ii) = all those the wise one identifies with become identified with God. Wealth becomes no longer your own, but for all these others connected to you. Tenuous things, but let us be convicted today of our giving and money issues, the praise of these psalms and the wisdom they seek cannot be divorced from our giving away.

Ps113-114 v7 God desires to prosper the poor. We aim to find a true theology of money. In defining myself against prosperity theology I overcompensate and then some: the margin of error is a striving clause, a subtle defence of self-made-ness, which is a conviction at least as damaging as prosperity theology. V9 Mothers and houses. We image this in mothering, we image this in providing homes for mothers. Recently learning of one who, albeit with the mixed motives of having a reliable, affordable housekeeper, intentionally sought a single mother as live-in house help/nanny. Walking with Gay Friends offers a similar commending of sharing home with those single etc, this is stretching the text a little. .. 114v1-2 In leaving the city, in detaching ourself from powers and securities, slavery and addictions, together we are able to form a sanctuary, a body in which God dwells. This is a recipe for ghettoisation, a Christ-against-the-city theology of rejecting culture. The picture I have (in an imagination affected by images of the cruise disaster) a picture of being on such a sea (v3?), with such a mass of people, and of having a tank of fresh water (v8?) - we serve those shipwrecked not by pouring the fresh water into the sea for them, but by establishing a distinct and conspicuous place on the raft dedicated to giving them fresh water to drink. Maritime and strained analogical apologies.

v1 Not to me but to Jesus be the Glory. This is right worship, and it is such a joy. v2-3 Takes on a new meaning for the Christian for our God is not just in the heavens but has broken into our totality in Bethlehem, walked and talked. & v8 we become like the object of our worship. This makes sense, over the long run the mind evolves to fit that to which its attention continually dwells upon. If I worship the idols of money sex power or whatever, I will die, these things are not living but dead, I will become unalive, like they, running on v4-7 without sight or speech or feeling. But Jesus, who sees (116v15) and hears (116v1) and whose heart beats fully alive (115v1) – Jesus is the true object of the universe's worship. Jesus, no idol, is the image of the invisible God and the same principle allies – the more we worship Jesus, and dwell with him in heart and mind, we will become more like him, embedding ourselves in his magic miraculous. So in our own 116v8 eyes, v9 limbs, & v10 speech, redemption comes. Sometimes it is v6 that simple.

117 Brevity, sufficient brevity. Teach me this. Within its two verses we sing who we are, who God is and why we are: loved by a faithful God for the sake of the nations. Ps118 There is an amazing density of potential platitudes here! Please please believe: v2 God is all love all the time, God is all love all the time. v6 God is for us, be fearless, God is for us, be fearless. v7 God is on your side, God is on your side. v8 God is a better refuge, God is a better refuge. v14 God is stronger, sin is broken, God is stronger, sin is broken. v17 It is not death to die, it is not death to die. v23 God is beautiful and in my sight, God is beautiful and in my sight.v24 Hari ini, this is the day, this is the day, with all of its new mercies. v26 Blessed is hard to mistranslate, blessed is hard to mistranslate. v29 God is all love all the time, God is all love all the time.

Praying this infectious psalm for a new season of reading scripture. This is not about the-law-and-not-the-heart. Reading the longest psalm for our hearts: when our hearts were far off they were v70 fat and insolent, like Iris Murdoch's 'fat lazy ego' that we are when left to ourselves, and only a God will save us. This text a picture of our salvation and how we play our part, so commands for the heart v2 v10 v58 v145 seek, entreat, cry out to God with your whole heart. Your. Whole. Heart. Not a compartmentalised or token affair. To be transformed into those who play in the mega-miraculous nothing but total surrender will do. Spiritual disciplines for the heart v11 store up God's word there with memory and meditation, v34 v69 teach your heart obedience. And so our hearts are transformed into v7 uprightness, v111 joy, and v161 awe. These attributes saturating this piece, let us be so transformed, pray that God would v32 enlarge our hearts and v36 incline our hearts towards him. In all this these are the few verses that stand out this morning, being enlarged and being inclined obvious verbs of transformation and change. What does it mean for one's heart to be inclined towards God? Aware constantly of more than what is in front of me, listening to the voice that would speak my name in all things. May my heart be metallic as to a divine magnet, or a loaded die towards my first love. So my attention dwells here & not on v37's worthless things. Remake me, God, do it as a graced gift, but teach me to participate, v112 in the active: I am to incline my heart. So inclined, because v136 God first inclined himself to us.

Ps120-121 On mission. 120 is by one far flung. To be far flung is to forego the home-grown comforts of straightforward communication and likemindedness. Go. Go to a land where people disagree with you. Go. Do hard things in hard places. Go speak peace to a war zone. Go to such a place as you will need Ps120's petition daily. .. Ps121 Where does my help come from? Is God my helper, my crampons, my nightwatch, my shelter, my shade, my lifesaver, my keeper, my guard? There are other security providers. Indeed, the market for lifesavers is a competitive one, and a lucrative one. Not a few tube ads want to sell you a face-saving shelter and shade, not a few insurance companies will work through the night to keep your life (and your pound of flesh). So go. Go make disciples. Go where insurers won't cover you. Go where your satnav can't guide you. Go where there's no plan B. Only God. Visibly only God.

Ps122 A prayer for you&I, God please v3 bind us together to image your holy city, it can only be you that keeps us and sustains us. Keep v2 our feet within your gates, your courts, keep us within your will and as we dwell here with you, teach us more of yourself, give us ears, and keep us within these gates with thanksgiving and praise as Ps100v4. Keep us122v5 accountable, v6 peaceful, and v7 secure. Keep us bound together for v8 the sake of our brothers and sisters, and v9 for Jesus' sake.

Ps123 On being inclined, lifting up one's eyes and so turning one's heart a certain way. This is to spend one's life within the gates of heaven, seeking God. Here. Here here here. In each moment lift up your eyes to God, like looking for the one you love in a crowd. & to see God in this everyday way is to experience his authority, as in the metaphors of these verses. Authority, we noted, is second-personal, it is a spoken responding requesting prompting. Renew our minds God, attune us to your authority, even now. & v3 have mercy on us have mercy on us. New mercies, beloved, lucky are we. Hallelujah.

Ps124-125 I spoke a little to contrast freedom-from with freedom-for in Ornament, but this is freedom-by. The difficulty with freedom-by is that it is a freedom unto an indebtedness to one's liberator. Good, only if the one that frees you is Good. Otherwise we leave one snare for another snare, one slavery for another slavery, addiction to addiction, death to death. But. The snare is broken. How to speak this unplatitudinally? .. 125 (v1) 'You are steady.' What a word. Those who speak such over us barely know their kindness. Our steadiness should not be our own. .. These two Psalms contrast with two self myths: the Houdinic myth of self-liberation: escapistism. The unfounded myth of self-support: gyroscopism. When all around is sinking sand, we are testimonies both to him that pulled us out and to his solid ground in which we now have our foundations.

Ps126-127 127 Speaks to real ardent questions made of God, to longings that are deep – for v1 home, for v1 our city, v2 our work, v3 our children... when and how and what and please and oh. But. Being drawn back: unless it is God it will all come to nothing, these will be empty pretences, surely to crumble. Even if you build the house, watch the city, get the job and parent the children, you will do it in vain, unless it is God. So, let's try to leave behind our pride again, surrendering to the God that is God, leaving behind striving, accepting belovedness, and v3 God gives his beloved sleep, God gives his beloved sleep. Jesus, please be the one through whom by whom and for whom we love this city, we build a home, we pursue excellent work and care for children. You are our God, and we trust you for 126's promises in all these, that you meet us in our waiting, that you turn tears to joy, ashes to beauty, anxiety to overflowing life. Restore us, for real, that you overflow into our home, city, work, children.

Ps128 Be fruit full. In your praxis and allegory, flavour and ambition, diet and delight. I want to speak this Psalm as a benediction over many of our friends and to do so without a flinch of prosperity-caution. It is hard not to read vending-machine theology into v1's 'everyone..' and following. However, a corrective might be found in a meditation on 'Blessed..' via Mt5 and via these: the blessedness of family, the blessedness of children, the role of the table.. An apologetic for the blessedness of being fruitful is needed in the now: where families are abandoned, children are aborted and the table is substituted with television. The blessedness of such blessings is not self-evident for many.

Ps129 I don't pray against an active personal evil very often. This because of two major issues. (1) I have a thin theology of spiritual warfare, which is a less than fully personal understanding of the universe. And (2) because of my own complicity in injustice. Oh pray the swift frustration of unjust ways in my own life.

Ps130-131 Lest we forget, God would have us wait on him, 130v5-6 we wait expectantly and in hope, becoming fit for heaven, as our attentiveness sharpens in accordance with v2 God's attentiveness to us. (And so we find ourselves again where even angels fear to tread.) 131 The pleasure of God's presence, the quieting of our hearts and minds, our safety. God is real, draw near with Faith. Thank you.

Ps132 Blessed remembrance. We the blessed store promises in our scripture memory :: the God of scripture enacts remembrance drawing blessing from his store. We exist in a covenant reality in which memory and promises are crucial. We promise to remember and God remembers his promise. Struggling a little to construct an elegant reciprocal description of our cooperation with God through promises and memory.. Blessed promises: Blessed are those who endure hardship v1, [on God's account] for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst and stay-up-late for righteousness/worship v7, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed is the one who heart is set to go v7 on pilgrimage, they shall go Ps84v5-7 from strength to strength. Remember remember remember.

Ps133 v1 'Behold' – be beheld in your dwelling, grant an audience, welcome a stranger, live an examined life, open to a warts-and-all scrutiny, in season and out. v1 'Good and Pleasant' – dichotomising, there are living arrangements that are 'good' but not pleasant, or 'pleasant' but not good. Our unity is a moral good and a phenomenal delight. I am reading onto the text a little but good-dwelling we ought to do and pleasant-dwelling we get to do! Ours is the both-and life. .. v1 'Brothers [and sisters]' from ESVSB's note I appreciate something new. This Psalm acknowledges the rare pleasure, not only of non-conflictual sibling cohabitation, but also the rare occasion that the ground condition is sufficiently fruitful to sustain extended generations in one place. Unity's preconditions are obviously emotional-spiritual and yet also immediate-practical. How good and pleasant it would be that Lambeth might provide custom sufficient to employ the twelve Jackson offspring-to-be in our bakery in their truly best giftings. How good and pleasant that our home group might enjoy unity by the economic provision (+visas) to stay to nurture a locality long-term. .. v2 'Precious oil' – this enduring dwelling, even imaged in small ways, is a precious act of consecration. By our unity we are setting this Place apart, enacting spiritual dominion symbolically. .. v3 'Dew of Hermon' – this enduring dwelling is a practical agricultural sustaining: by our unity we are like water to the vegetable patch. Finally and beblessedly v2 'Beard..' - just saying..

Ps134-135 134 is a blessing on all mercy justice and so the worship that is the Robes project, please God. 135v15-18 on the deadness, stasis, inertness of idols, again, this has been a theme in today's work and this evening's lecture, that idolatry is a compulsion towards dead gods, towards unmysterious, tamed, self-constructed attempts to live in the past. Be alive, be present, to the God who is alive, and Other and who will break in and surprise you, who demonstrates that the past need not repeat itself. The God to be in awe of, the God who answers back. We come to talk, God, we come to kneel.

Ps136 Breathe in, breathe out // His love endures forever // Live a responsive antiphonal life // His love endures forever // Be patterned and rhythmed by. His. Love. Forever. // His love endures forever. // Endure by/with/in/because // His love endures forever. .. Our premise-testimony-conclusion: His love endures forever. Thus we live between the lines of steadfast love. The God who acted in history, who is active, who will enact his promises. On this premise we sing.. To demand total worship, awe and wonder from us, it would be enough for God to be God v1-3, it would be enough for God to be creator v4-9, it would be enough for God to have given us land v21 and food v25. These would be sufficient grounds for extravagant worship. How much more then to the God who gave himself up to death for us? How much more?

Ps137 Where there is Babylon, harps are hung. Where harps are hung, there is Babylon. So recognise our captivity to forces of recorded music, amplified, synthesised and professionalised music. And bring me my bow, oh clouds unfold. Bring me Explosions in the Sky. Post-rock, at its best, is a call to unforget v5 skilfully made music in new songs of impassioned lament. And so, let us make music a thing to be made more than a commodity to be bought, more than an act under duress, more than therapy or nostalgia. .. We sing of the reality of Jerusalem, but more than that, we sing as the reality of Jerusalem: a singing city. The reason for our singing, the substance and effect, is Jerusalem, where God dwells, in our singing. So dwell, melodically today.

Ps138 God of all glory and lowliness, who, to trade in spatial metaphors, swoops down to lift us up, this prayer evokes remembrance of God's movement towards us, all we do is response. This is a prayer over incomplete things, a prayer for the despondent, a prayer for the apathetic. This is a prayer for anyone desponding such, v7-8 God will complete the work begun in you.

Ps139 There is a reason this Psalm is our staple, it is like the tardis, this Psalm, bigger on the inside. With one baby today who is perfectly formed, fearfully and wonderfully made, eliciting praise of this God at the mystery of existence. Search me and know me. This is the dangerously expansive prayer that opens the tardis door beyond a text.. examine me, test me, and guide me in the way everlasting. Submitting to this terrifying prayer I am also convicted that our missional service should look like this: enabling others to pray this prayer. To do this would keep us from both self-righteous hubris and cheap grace, for this is the place of greatest love & greatest truth. God, lead us to this place, search us and transform us, in the way everlasting. And please God equip us to lead people into that space, that they would experience their birthright belovedness and allow their integrity to be scrutinised by your light.

Ps140-141 140v1 Evil without and 141v4 evil within.. So here, Thresholds and the Spatiality of Transgression: 141v3 door of my lips and v7 mouth of Sheol. Thus evil is like water: you can swallow it, it can swallow you. But also, such thresholds are two-way streets, it is not what goes into a mouth but what comes out.. Mt15v11. What comes out? We are vessels, 2Cor4v7, made to be filled with living water, made to pour out living water. Oh set a guard God. .. Brokeness and Proclamation: 141v5 strike me, with correction, with hard words. v7 break me, my pride, my comfort, my idols. v7 scatter me, send me, place me, pot me. v6 use me, seed me, use my words, use my broken state, use my distribution. All for the cause of making God known amongst those who know not. Brokeness is necessary. If we learn nothing else from gardening. .. 140v6 God is God. God is my God. God is God. God is my God. God is God..

Ps142-143 143v8 'Let me hear in the morning of God's steadfast love, in God I trust. God make me go the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.' We lift up our souls, in the ESV's dependence & allegiance, in and for delight and alignment. We love to wake up to you God, please come into our laments today, let us hear you speak of your steadfast love, 142v1-2 on honesty with God - here we see God's kingdom work as therapeutic in a non-pejorative sense, the God who 142v6 hears us, v7 in our safe place, and engages us in a dialogue to 143v10 teach us and 142v3 so transform us, so that our lives might be patterned differently (Acts 3). Let us go and do likewise.

Ps144 We live in an enwarred reality. We need training for both hands and fingers. Because our hand's memory is forgetful 137v5. Yet, having trained us for battle, the fight is his, the v2 subduing is his, the victory is his because the v2 fortress was his, and the v6 weapons were his and the demonstrations of power v5-6 which scattered the enemy were all his. The war is won Rm8v37 etc, but/and God helps us in our skirmishes which are fights against lingering lies v8 v11. The big lies which undermines the peace of the nation and the little pervasive lies which we have believed of ourselves. This is a fight, a fight God promises to train us for and to fight for us and with us. .. v12-14 An architectural agricultural benediction May it be so, that we would be ones and bear ones who bear fruit and bear weight.

Ps 145 God's work is to be v4 our commendation, v5 our meditation, v6 our declaration, v7 our pouring forth into song. Were we given words for any greater purpose? This an evangelist's Psalm. I waste words by comparison, I speak an untruth by allowing people to assume a full truth in what limited and cautious words I use for God. Of vocabulary, I am throwing the cricket ball of a gospel articulation at this and the next generation but now pitching it steep enough nor throwing hard enough. I have not taken a long enough run up, I have not allowed God to train my hands. Here, now, in this texting, drinking this coffee, reading this Psalm, this is my run up: a meditation on God, the glory of his kingdom v11, the safety of his upholding v14, the sufficiency of his provision v15, His satisfaction, His kindness v17, His nearness v18, His saving v19, His preserving v20. What a Psalm! Prayers for Oxford, for mission, for us, for our words

Ps146-147 Praise God, wonder and amazement, do you not know, have you not heard who He is? My God is 146v3 immortal, v5 hope-giving, life-breathing, a very present help to me, v6 the creator designer sustainer, a faithful unfailing lover, v7 the source and inspiration of and for all justice, He's so good. God feeds us, God provides, God nourishes. God liberates, God desires to liberate you from your past, your hurt, your addiction to being less than you could be. Do you not know? v8 God envisions, God expands your horizons and brings into focus and dazzles with new light and colour, God brings a whole new perspective. Why keep your eyes on the ground when there's a whole world out there? God loves you God loves you. v8 God sees you, God holds you in mind and aches with your aches and v10 this aching-for0you God is sovereign don't you know, how good is that?! You should worship the one God, you know, it's 147v1 such a good thing. v2 God builds and gathers, are you interested in those things? v3 God heals the broken-hearted, I know that's the hardest one to hear, but the best one too, right? Your heart dear hearts. This God who is close to you knows the stars, v4 all of them, the cosmos is His. Ridiculous ridiculous. v5 power and understanding - are you interested in those? v13 strength and v14 peace, that sounds quite good. And v16-17 the snow all over the place at the weekend - eliciting playfulness and pleasure. God. God God God.

Ps148-149 In a praise of amazement. Indulgent minor melancholies and background spiritual depression are not so mysterious as to be immune from an act of the will, to turn, for amazement, to an amazing God. Amazement is our currency Ac2v7,12 3v10 and/because it is our own daily conversion. Go into your day amazed. As queens of hearts, believing six impossible things before breakfast. Dwell on the inexplicable. Ponder Ph4v8 *anything* worthy of praise. Rm1v20 I am without excuse to leave the house unamazed. Pray Until Something Hosannas. .. These verses would have us speak to plants in imperatives. Do you do that? v9 You, fruit trees, come and praise God! These are strange and Buber-ian conversations. .. 149v1 What is new? Monday offered Mt13v52 as if I had never read it. The world is full of new-old ways to remix anew to v5 sing for joy. In all the ways the English languages allow us to treble-entendre 'for' joy.

Ps150 Let everything living praise the Lord. Praise God oh my soul, soar and swell, burst into song, rhythmically and unrhythmically, praise God. Praise God oh my body, praise God oh my mind. Praise God my imagination, praise God my conversations, praise God my observations. Praise God oh overflow of amazed wondering heart. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Praise God, God would you grow praise up in us today like a plant, would we praise you in waves and new waves, and would we know that You are the God we worship. Christ in my heart, Christ on my lips, it is He whom I love and worship.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are a very talented writer. I think you have a gift. I just read your interpretation of The Bothersome Man. I just want to say that it is the best one I've seen. You belong with the best of them.