Psalm 57

I need to check these days that I haven’t featured a psalm more than once on a blog.  This is actually the fourteenth blog that I have written on a particular psalm - so I have a long way to go, before I need gather them together in one place.  Anyhow, Psalm 57 is what I am featuring today, and it is a possibility for this morning (though we will probably read Psalm 77 at Morning Prayer in St Mary’s at 8.00 a.m) and it comes with a glorious thought.  That is how psalms arrive for our attention - with a phrase or theme that leaps out at us.  At least, I think so.  The key verse for me in Psalm 57 is verse 8: “Wake up, my spirit; awake lute and harp; I myself will waken the dawn.”

In the psalms the coming of morning often indicates the coming of hope.  This verse is a case in point.  It is an extraordinary verse  Reading it slowly cannot but bring a smile to our faces.  It is the psalmist bursting with the new day; his very spirit comes to life.  But, not only that, with the dawn comes music; it is accompanied by lute and harp.  Do you get the picture of how this poet and singer, this writer of psalms, is treating the rising of the sun and the coming of the light? Energy, spilling over in the joyful notes of the musical instruments, and without a doubt there was singing too.  

Then comes the extraordinary bit: “I myself will waken the dawn.”  The author is personifying the dawn and imagining his shout of praise literally waking the new day.  This is grabbing exultation with a determination that is verging on the defiant.  Just let anyone try and dampen my spirits!  Just  let even the dawn itself arrive sleepy and overcast!  I’ll wake it.  My heart will sing; my heart will sing; my heart will sing…..

John Mann