In the digital age …

… we sometimes lose sight of the passion, dedication, sacrifices, and practical challenges of information sharing in previous ages. Here is a reminder: Let Bidding Begin for the Bay Psalm Book From 1640 (Religion in the New York Times).

Detail. Title Page of the Bay Psalm Book, 1640

From the article:

David N. Redden recited the opening of the 23rd Psalm the way he had memorized it as a child: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”

Then he opened a weathered little book and read the version it contained: “The Lord to mee a shepheard is, want therefore shall not I. Hee in the folds of tender-grasse, doth cause mee downe to lie.”

Those lines were in a volume published in Massachusetts in 1640 that amounted to the Puritans’ religious and cultural manifesto. It was the first book printed in the colonies, and the first book printed in English in the New World. The locksmith who ran the hand-operated press turned out roughly 1,700 copies. The one in Mr. Redden’s hands is one of only 11 known to exist.

Read the article online

Read more about the Bay Psalm Book on Wikipedia

Image: Janneman on Wikipedia

“My Shepherd Will Supply My Need”

I was reminded of this adaptation of the 23rd Psalm the other day and wanted to share. What a beautiful thing to remember.

(arranged by Mack Wilberg)

My Shepherd will supply my need:
Jehovah is His Name;
In pastures fresh He makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back
When I forsake His ways,
And leads me, for His mercy’s sake,
In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death
Thy presence is my stay;
One word of Thy supporting breath
Drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows,
Thine oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.
–Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Wind Chimes: 19 Oct 2012

But if I go East—He is not there;
West—I still do not perceive Him;
North—since He is concealed, I do not behold Him;
South—He is hidden, and I cannot see Him.

Job 23:8-9

Today we continue to wonder, with Job, where is God? Where is God in the midst of enormous challenges facing his creation and his ‘children’ throughout creation—even those we consider our ‘enemies’? And where is God in the challenges we face? ~dan

Still yourself long enough to hear the chimes. What do you hear?

One thing Job discovered in his desolation

I try to remind myself that we are never promised anything, and that what control we can exert is not over the events that befall us but how we address ourselves to them.

—Jeanne DuPrau in The Earth House and quoted by Word for the Day on Nov. 16, 2011.

What we can learn from Job in his desolation

Quote . . .Job, as an artfully crafted figure, is a representative of Israel’s faith as it is exhibited in daring, irreverent, subversive prayer. No doubt it can be debated whether Job’s utterances can count as prayer, for some of his speech is simply angered rumination not noticeably addressed to God. It is not for nothing that his name means “adversary,” for Job is in an urgent contestation with all parties—with God, with his friends, with his own moral code that he has trusted for so long, and with the abusive, violent way in which the world is ordered. Thus we may give Job our attention precisely because he refuses all the pious conventionalities and will speak from the core of his hurt and from his deep, unrestrained sense of not being taken seriously. His was indeed a cry from the heart. It happens, eventually, that his cry was heard by God. More than that, he receives an answer from God that by any conventional measure is no answer at all, for the God of the whirlwind refuses to be drawn into Job’s demanding calculations.

Brueggemann, Walter (2010-11-05). Great Prayers of the Old Testament (p. 122). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

Another “Arrow Prayer”

Turn to me [Lord] and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted. –Psalm 25:16 NIV

“Arrow Prayer” is a term used to describe a prayer which is offered quickly in the moment. Prayers of thanksgiving often come in the form of arrow prayers. Arrow prayers are also helpful in times of distress. “Help me, God!” “Holy one, watch over me.” “Walk with me Jesus, for I am afraid.” These arrow prayers are also prayers of praise and thanksgiving for they recognize God’s on-going presence in daily life.

From a paper written by Jane E. Vennard: Exploring a Life of Prayer

Wind Chimes: 18 Oct 2012

But if I go East—He is not there;
West—I still do not perceive Him;
North—since He is concealed, I do not behold Him;
South—He is hidden, and I cannot see Him. —Job 23:8-9

Through the rest of this week we’ll wonder, with Job, where is God? Where is God in the midst of enormous challenges facing his creation and his ‘children’ throughout creation—even those we consider our ‘enemies’? And where is God in the challenges we face? ~dan

Listen to the wind in the chimes for a while. What do you hear?

Prayer words from the Psalms …

The psalmists know how to plead, lament, complain, express anger AND how to move from those places to places of trust. We used this Psalm in our midweek worship at St. Margaret’s on 10/17/12:

1 I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, * because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.
2 The cords of death entangled me; the grip of the grave took hold of me; * I came to grief and sorrow.
3 Then I called upon the Name of the Lord: * “O Lord, I pray you, save my life.”
4 Gracious is the Lord and righteous; * our God is full of compassion.
5 The Lord watches over the innocent; * I was brought very low, and he helped me.
6 Turn again to your rest, O my soul, * for the Lord has treated you well.
7 For you have rescued my life from death, * my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.
8 I will walk in the presence of the Lord * in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:1-8 on p. 759 of The Book of Common Prayer

Prayer words from the Prayer Book

Every Wednesday, after the Eucharist at St. Margaret’s, a group of us meet for a “Spiritual Day Hike.” We (figuratively) hike along trails up to peaks and vistas, through passes wending our way down the hillside into the valleys below, and sometimes we walk along streams in the meadows. The trails are left by our ancestors in the faith: in the Bible, in prayers, in writings, in hymns and songs, and so on. Currently we are exploring the expansive ‘Meadow of the Collects’ (Book of Common Prayer, pp. 211-261). Jean, one of our hikers, shared a prayer she uses daily as she seeks God in the midst of chronic pain and discomfort:

This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.

A prayer “In the Morning” on p. 461 of The Book of Common Prayer

An “Arrow Prayer” (when darkness overwhelms) from the Psalms

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. –Psalm 43:3

“Arrow Prayer” is a term used to describe a prayer which is offered quickly in the moment. Prayers of thanksgiving often come in the form of arrow prayers. Arrow prayers are also helpful in times of distress. “Help me, God!” “Holy one, watch over me.” “Walk with me Jesus, for I am afraid.” These arrow prayers are also prayers of praise and thanksgiving for they recognize God’s on-going presence in daily life.

From a paper written by Jane E. Vennard: Exploring a Life of Prayer