Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Wednesday, September 8, 2021 (Day 95)

Katie Snipes Lancaster

Psalm 95 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation)

Come, let us sing gladly to the Lord, let us shout out to the Rock of our rescue. Let us Greet him in acclaim, in songs let us shout out to him. For a great god is the Lord and great king over all the gods. In Whose hand are the depths of the earth, and the peaks of the mountains are His. His is the sea and he made it, and the dry land His hands did fashion. Come, let us bow and kneel, bend the knee before the Lord our maker.

An Opening Word

Naming God as king means not naming the king as “king.” It shifts one’s allegiance from the human to the divine realm. It means one’s primary devotion is to God, not to the powers and principalities that rule our common lives. Psalm 95’s public celebration of God as king puts on display a level of loyalty and fidelity that forces our recasting of the earthly king as a secondary figure to the throne of God. This rearrangement is good for us to recognize in a world where our allegiances are divided many ways.

Today’s mystic William Wordsworth, may have also been at home in these critiques of power and it’s source, being greatly influenced by the French Revolution. He was born in 1770 in the Lake District of England. His father died when Wordsworth was just 14 years old and left him considerable debt. He and his siblings were essentially orphaned, but various relatives took them in, more couch-surfing than truly finding home. He went to university, but on his summer break at the age of 19, he went on a walking tour of France which was right in the middle of revolution, a season which influenced him deeply. Along with political shifting sands, he experienced the devastation of the environment, his childhood landscape became a place ravaged by newly minted manufacturing processes. Some say that nothing influenced him more than his geographical beginnings in the northern lakes of England. He is considered a “Prophetic Poet of Nature” and even “Nature’s Priest.” He is not explicitly a faithful Christian, and certainly not theologically trained beyond basic university courses which would have in his day included required reading in classic theology, but the spiritual depth of his poetry leads many to call him a mystic. On a visit to a French Carthusian monastery, he wrote that it was “A place/Of soul-affecting solitude.” Of the body-and-soul experience of spiritual renewal in nature, he writes that he might “Receive/Deeply the lesson deep of love.” Below is a line from William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.”

Prayer from the Mystics: William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.

May we be at home in God. Amen.

September 8, 2021

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