Psalm 117 “Praise the Lord, all you nations!
Extol him, all you peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!”
I learned recently that ‘Hymns Ancient and Modern’ is the best-selling hymn book ever – a ground-breaking anthology of worship material for its day in 1861, reaching across church traditions as well as historic eras.
For me this highlights the qualities of the best-selling prayer book ever! Think of the Psalter as an anthology that captured both ancient prayers (transmitted orally) alongside ‘contemporary’ expressions of worship developed in the adversity of Old Testament exile. It has reached across tradition and circumstance – shaping the prayers of God’s people through thick and thin – for at least 25 centuries! Meanwhile, words which were originally directed to God have since become Word of God – as part of the Bible – which makes the Psalter God’s own ‘book of common prayer’, shaping not only our praying but also us, as the pray-ers.
This week I shall pick out one psalm a day. For today we turn to the very shortest Psalm, 117. I invite you to echo it. It situates each of us in the very centre of God’s strong palm – while stretching our horizon beyond the diocese of Guildford to the nations, and our time-frame beyond the now into the forever of eternity. God’s unconditional love and utter faithfulness brings perspective… politely proposing that we get over ourselves!