Morning by Morning

"The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward." Isaiah 50:4-5

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Swarming of Bees

The Book of Psalms was the prayer book of the Early Church and the prayer book of Jesus. One of the Early Church fathers introduced a verse from Psalms saying, “In the Psalms, where the Holy Spirit speaks to us, it is written . . .”

Most mornings when I rise I prayerfully sing a few Psalms as a way of listening to the Holy Spirit. So very often the words of the Psalter speak out of the conflicts and joys of the human heart. I usually prayerfully sing three to five Psalms, depending on their length, and systematically work through the Psalter. This morning as I picked up The Book of Common Prayer Psalter I felt battered about by a number of pressures that I am faced with this day; not the least of these pressures are the alarming news events which press upon us, that and a thousand other things that beat on the doors of my mind seeking admittance. What I found was this.

“In the Psalms, where the Holy Spirit speaks to us it is written,

8    It is better to rely on the Lord *
            than to put any trust in the flesh.
9    It is better to rely on the Lord
            than to put any trust in rulers.
10  All the ungodly encompass me; *
            in the Name of the LORD I will repel them.
11  They hem me in, they hem me in on every side; *
             in the name of the LORD I will repel them.
13  They swarm about me like bees;
      they blaze like a fire of thorns; *
            in the name of the LORD I will repel them.
14  I was pressed so hard that I almost fell, *
            but the LORD came to my help.
15  The Lord is my strength and my song, *
            and he has become my salvation.

All of those thousand anxious thoughts were swarming about me as bees. Most of us have that experience from time to time. In Psalm 71 verse 21 I find myself praying “You strengthen me more and more; you enfold and comfort me.”

When I was a little boy I had an alarming experience:

Little Robin Redbreast
Was running through the meadow
Looking for adventure
That would please him best.
Near a woody dell
Down a deep dark hole he fell,
Where buzzing bees, all black and yellow
Angry swarmed, and made him yell.
His summer camp was just a torture
And not a time for fun adventure.

In times of stress decide to rest in the Lord. It takes a decision. The Lord is our strength and our song, and He is our salvation. There is an old song that says, “Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin, The Blood of Jesus whispers peace within.”

As I begin to rest in the Lord, I pray in the words of the poet John Greenleaf Whittier in his poem Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,

O still, small voice of calm.

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