Taste and See: simple and true

Wall painting, Utrecht

The Psalm for the 3rd Sunday of the Year has us sing to the Lord – even with a sense of awe and wonder – about the virtue of his words, his law.

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.

The fear of the Lord is holy,
abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth
and all of them just.

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.

May the spoken words of my mouth,
the thoughts of my heart,
win favour in your sight, O Lord,
my rescuer, my rock!

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.

Psalm 18:8-10,15

The awe and wonder comes surely not from any surface grandeur in the word of God. There are some stylistic, rhetorical features and, especially from use, these impress themselves up on us – think of the opening of John’s Gospel and of Genesis. But by and large the prose is prosaic, and the poetry modest (at least in the English). There are metaphors that find their way to our heart. But mostly there is little in the text itself to engage us, little in the way of literary fireworks.

But the word is a living word, given not to draw attention to itself, or its human authors, but to the God and faith who inspires the words and speaks heart to heart through the words. It is before this truth that the psalmist almost falls silent, but speaks still to give thanks and witness to the precious gift of the Lord.

Candlestick and wall painting, Utrecht. (c) 2003, Allen Morris

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