Reflection for Thursday 8th July 2021

Nigel Price

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The Gospel reading set for today tells the same story as we had on last Sunday, so rather than doing a repeat I have chosen to look at the Psalm set for today.

Psalm 105.11-17 (The Message)

11 Namely, “I give you the land.
Canaan is your hill-country inheritance.”
12 When they didn’t count for much,
a mere handful, and strangers at that,
13 Wandering from country to country,
drifting from pillar to post,
14 He permitted no one to abuse them.
He told kings to keep their hands off:
15 “Don’t you dare lay a hand on my anointed,
don’t hurt a hair on the heads of my prophets.”
16 Then he called down a famine on the country,
he broke every last blade of wheat.
17 But he sent a man on ahead:
Joseph, sold as a slave.

Reflection

The Psalms are a great resource in our Bibles. In the monasteries and convents, the whole Psalter (150 Psalms) is read over the course of a number of days or weeks, depending on how enthusiastic the particular order might be. St Benedict suggests that those monks who in a week say less than the full Psalter show their extreme indolence and lack of devotion. He reminds them that the Holy Fathers did it all in one day, so ‘lukewarm as we may be, surely we can achieve it in a whole week!’

We have only had a short section from one of the longer ‘history’ Psalms. The tone throughout is of praise and it may well have been used as a hymn.  The section we have just heard deals with the patriarchs and in the last verse introduces the story of Joseph.  Above all it is about the ‘covenant God’ who protects and saves; the one who has promised everything to his people.

We are his chosen ones and though we might count for little as we stumble around in this world, drifting from pillar to post, he promises his protection. ‘Hands off!’ is the warning; do not hurt a hair on their heads.  Sometimes we may feel that we are strangers in our own land, but always remember the words of this Psalm promising protection from a loving Father.

The Collect (Alternative)

Almighty God,
send down upon your Church the riches of your Spirit,
and kindle in all who minister the gospel
your countless gifts of grace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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