Julia Mason and I attended the Retreat and enjoyed it very much. Bishop Gregor chose
Psalms which had a meaning for him and he included personal information while talking
about these Psalms.
The Psalms he chose were - Psalm 8, 19, 23 (perhaps the best known of all the Psalms),
51 (a penitential Psalm), and 84. Each address ended with a musical setting of that
Psalm, some of which sent shivers up my spine.
There were many well known verses and phrases in these Psalms, which I recognized,
but did not know where they came from. Many are attributed to David.
The writer stares at the heavens and wonders what God could bring this universe about.
It is with awe and wonder and a feeling of our smallness. It is about God the creator
and praise. We get our dignity from God and He does not withdraw this when we behave
badly. Humans must respect all living things or we will destroy the earth.
This starts with praise and changes abruptly at verse 7 to the Law; another way of
knowing God. Christ takes the place of the Law for us. Verse 14 is very well known.
An American theologian wrote ‘God lurking around in the world’ - and we can bump
into Him at any place and any time.
This is often used by us in times of trouble and utter loss. Wilderness is often
the topic of Lent courses and we have our desserts at times. On the face of it,
it is a calm, peaceful and contented Psalm showing utter trust in God; but, could
a person in Japan, New Zealand or Australia pray this at the time of such devastation?
It challenges us to be shepherds and hosts to others. Are we?
This one is said during Lent and is probably the most well known penitential Psalm.
God accepts us as we are and challenges us to change. The Psalmist confesses his
sins and sinful nature and wants to improve. He lives in hope. Is God challenging
us? Is it beyond us to try? Are we too lazy to try?
This is a happy Psalm. The Psalmist longs to meet God in the sacred place (the Temple)
and knows this can happen; he mentions birds in verse 2. Compare with Psalm 150
'Let everything praise the Lord'. What are our Holy Spaces where we meet God? For
God to meet us? Are we happy and joyful in our pilgrimage towards God?
Do look up these Psalms and see what you recognize. As you see, you missed a great
Retreat. There was also time to ourselves to pray, think and read. There were Morning
Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline plus two Eucharists. Saying the Psalms together
helped with the understanding, and the appreciation of their poetry.
The date of the next Retreat is: 27-29 March 2012 at Kinnoull. Put this date in
your diaries now as I am sure the next one will be as inspiring as this one. If
you wish any further information on the Retreat please get in touch.