2014. szeptember 11., csütörtök

On Psalms 113,115 ­- Praying with the Books of Common Prayer and Common Worship (Psalm-meditations)

"From the rising of the sun to its setting / let the name of the Lord be praised." (Psalm 113,3). Psalms 113 and 115 are allocated as today's prayers for the Morning Prayer. Psalms are like an iconistasis, a wall of icons in the Church. They are icons of our own history. Praying the Psalms offers a unique opportunity to contemplate the depth of history in which we live. They offer an insight into history's complex life; into our own interconnected lives.
Following the news of world- and local politics, it seems, they fixate us in a constant flux. The iconostasis of history, which we are privileged to contemplate through the Christian prayer, has a profound effect upon us. It restores our sense of history. We become capable of seeing unity into an otherwise dangerously fragmented realm. And this is a vital faculty in our mediatised, computerised "e-age". In The Times Henry Kissinger said that the problem with today's politicians is that they have lost the sense of history. Together with their world they respond to what happens on the web. The ageing politician insinuates that leaders and peoples have become too internet-dependent. They are captive of emotional responses. Indeed, in the lack of a proper distance from history (the present) there is no proper engagement with this nervous medium. Arriving back to our Psalm-icons, without a "third eye", there is no proper analysis. We can see the consequences of developing its synonim, genuine historical responsibility. When we are responsible for the depth of our analysis, gestures and words.
Psalms 115 and 116 are governed by one single theme, which underlies their words. Peace. "From the rising of the sun to its setting / let the name of the Lord be praised." (Psalm 113,3). This line is of prophetic value. This line is a judgement upon us today. When I pray, I can hear a voice inside, which the historical Psalmist, the Spirit of God shares with us. Look! There is no peace in your world! "From the  rising of the sun to its setting" we are called to face this lack. The archetype, the Source of this Peace, which could smooth the entangled ways of peoples and nations in their Laoconic wrestling, is there, however. It is always among us told in this equally prophetic line: "The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens" (Psalm113,4.) Indeed, we can call it a prophetic statement as we should no longer taken for granted the meaning of "God". Neither in the Roman Catholic Church, nor in the Church of England. God, to whom our doctrines and liturgies point, so to say, are "beyond" our Psalms. We have to re-learn to contemplate this source of Peace. "Who is like the Lord our God that has his throne so high, yet humbles himself to behold the things of heaven and earth?" (Psalm 113,5).
The closing Prayer of the Psalm in Common Worship is wise. It brings to completion our meditation. It illustrates what the "depth" of meditation, to which we are called to arrive at, means. Acquiring the sense of history in our "e-age" is most of all letting God's peace be manifested as compassionate seeing of the world. "From the rising of the sun to its setting we praise your name, O Lord; may your promise to raise the poor from the dust and turn the fortunes of the needy upside down be fulfilled in our time also, as it was in your On, Jesus Christ our Lord."
Psalm 115, the second part of the Morning Prayer, does not leave a rest for us. Now, with this call to see through the depth of compassion, the question is repeated. "Why should the nations say, 'Where is now their God'? Where is the Peace now to which we are called?"
I am leaving myself and you with this single, I believe, guiding question, on the threshold of the referendum on Scottish independence. There is a lot to contemplate in ourselves, till our motives in acting at this particular part of history become clear, and till we perceive fuller what the taken for granted words, "the Peace of God", mean.


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