Reflection for Thursday 28 May


Reflection for Thursday 28 May

Canon Celia Thomson


O Lord, you have searched me out and known me

You know my sitting down and my rising up:

You discern my thoughts from afar.


You mark out my journeys and my resting place

And are acquainted with all my ways.

Psalm 139:1-2


In this half-term week many people would in normal circumstances be making journeys, going on holiday or visiting family and friends. In week 10 of lockdown our journeys are at the moment very limited, and most of us are spending far more time than we are used to in the resting place of our homes.

So often I find in the psalms a verse or just a phrase that picks up on a current situation and expresses how I am feeling at the moment. The psalms have always been part of the Church’s worship and, long before Jesus lived, were and still are part of Jewish worship too. The 8 daily offices devised by St Benedict ensured that the whole psalter was prayed through each week; many of the monks would have got to know them off by heart. Cranmer also gave great importance to the psalms, and in the Book of Common Prayer worked out a scheme for using the psalter once through each month. These days we tend to only say or sing one psalm at each office.

I find the psalms are more and more important to me, a source of joy, of comfort, of learning, of connection with the suffering of others, of coming to terms with what’s happening in the world. They are also astonishingly contemporary, for they can express the story of whole communities as well as each of us as individuals.

Psalm 139 is one of my favourites. And in these days between the Ascension and Pentecost, when the church is awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit, when we in our current situation are waiting to be able to open the doors of the Cathedral again, when all are living and waiting with uncertainty about the future, there is great comfort in these words of God’s faithfulness and care for us.

The Psalmist tells us that God is everywhere in the world he has created and yet has intimate knowledge of each and every one of us, his living creatures, leading us by hand on our journeys and marking our resting places,

“For you yourself created my inmost parts: You knit me together in my mother’s womb” v.12

When we experience dark times it can help us to pray through this psalm, as so many have done before us, to remind ourselves of God’s presence, of God’s love, which is both intimate and transcendent.

Canon Celia Thomson


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