Psalm 143

             Refrain:    Show me, O Lord, the way that I should walk in.

 

1    Hear my prayer, O Lord,

     and in your faithfulness give ear to my supplications;  ♦

     answer me in your righteousness.

 

2    Enter not into judgement with your servant,  ♦

      for in your sight shall no one living be justified.

 

3    For the enemy has pursued me,

      crushing my life to the ground,  ♦

      making me sit in darkness like those long dead.

 

4    My spirit faints within me;  ♦

      my heart within me is desolate. [R]

 

5    I remember the time past; I muse upon all your deeds;  ♦

      I consider the works of your hands.

 

6    I stretch out my hands to you;  ♦

      my soul gasps for you like a thirsty land.

 

7    O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me;  ♦

      hide not your face from me

      lest I be like those who go down to the Pit.

 

8    Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning,

      for in you I put my trust;  ♦

      show me the way I should walk in,

      for I lift up my soul to you. [R]

 

9    Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies,  ♦

      for I flee to you for refuge.

 

10  Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God;  ♦

       let your kindly spirit lead me on a level path.

 

 

11  Revive me, O Lord, for your name’s sake;  ♦

       for your righteousness’ sake, bring me out of trouble.

 

12  In your faithfulness, slay my enemies,

      and destroy all the adversaries of my soul,  ♦

      for truly I am your servant.

 

Refrain:    Show me, O Lord, the way that I should walk in.

 

Jesus, our companion, when we are driven to despair, help us, through the friends and strangers we encounter on our path, to know you as our refuge, our way, our truth and our life.

 

 

Commentary

Psalms are loved and revered by Christians as much as by the Jewish people whose ancestors wrote them well over 2000 years ago.  This one addresses God with an honesty that we might find troubling. The Psalmist remembers great deeds of the past  where God was in charge. Not now?  He or she is distressed, fearing complicity in the woes of the world.  Judgement looms.  There is an acknowledgement that we have no power of our own to overcome the awful state of affairs that leads ultimately to death.  Only Divine righteousness can turn the tables. There is desperate pleading to be protected and shown the way forward.

Remembering those who died in the service of our Nation we can empathise with these sentiments.  The sacrifices were huge and painful. We have been the beneficiaries in many ways.  But the world continues with its injustices, dishonouring the illustrious names we recall today.  Now we are judged, both individually and as the soul of the Nation.  Remembrance is inextricably linked to renewal, commitment and action.  The Psalm captures it for us.  Show me, O Lord, the way that I should walk in, for truly I am your servant.

 

Mark Taylor, Reader in the Benefice of Calehill and Westwell