Psalm 95 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 95

“Come, let us sing to the Lord:

let us shout for joy to the rock of salvation.” Psalm 95:1

This photo is from my tent site at Four Pines Hostel—home to cows, ducks, hens, two roosters, a couple of dogs and some crazy guinea hens that run up and down the field and try to lay their eggs in all the wrong places.  Their caregiver has to hunt them down and gather them back so the fox doesn’t get them.  Weary hikers needing a shower find their way here from the trail crossing a half mile down the road.  Yes, we are full of thanksgiving for warm water, and there was even singing the night before, maybe not to the Lord.  Some slept in the barn; I chose my tent in the grass.  Finally after several dreary days of rain, the morning clouds are breaking up.  My day’s hike will be up the drying rocks of infamous Dragon’s Tooth.  (It’s not all that bad, although I needed help up a rock face once.)

This psalm is the fixture of morning prayer in our Lutheran hymnal—at least the “happy, singing part” of the psalm.  But  read in it’s entirety there is a shift 2/3 of the way through; the psalmist switches from a call to worship with rejoicing to addressing her congregation with a warning not to wander away.  “Harden not your hearts…as at Massah in the desert.  There your ancestors tested me,” says the Lord.  And the psalm ends abruptly threatening God’s anger should they stray (like sheep—or guinea hens perhaps).  We don’t get to sing that part in morning prayer.

Too bad.  Because I believe there’s a connection.  Gathering to sing together and praise God softens our hearts for the day, don’t you think?  I have read (don’t ask me to tell you where at the moment) that studies show the positive physical and emotional benefits of choirs singing together.  Could it be that not gathering to sing to the Lord together makes us more susceptible to hardened hearts that go their own way?

That’s why I like this version of Psalm 95. It doesn’t leave anything out.  It includes the hard heart warning, but then comes back to the beginning call to sing together again.  What do you think? Listening to this song is also a way to read the whole psalm.  Skip the ad :-/

Suggestions:

1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?  Does music help you start the morning with God?

2. Or read all of Psalm 95 (or watch the video) to discover how this verse fits into this psalm.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s psalm  will be Psalm 96.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at http://elainedent.net or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

Comments

  1. Beautiful song!