Pondering for Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Daly Office Readings for Tuesday, Proper 7 Year 1

AM Psalm 97, 99, [100]; PM Psalm 94, [95]1 Samuel 6:1-16; Acts 5:27-42; Luke 21:37-22:13

“Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.” (Psalm 95:1)

Ahaaa, the Venite , these are verses 1 through 7 of Psalm [95] as found on page 82 of the Book of Common Prayer.  It is Morning Prayer.  I like to sing this Psalm in the morning as part of Morning Prayer.  The other music I like in the morning is “Lead me, Guide me.”  As found in Lift Every Voice and Sing.  The Venite is timeless. It always urges us to “come before his presence with thanksgiving and raise a loud shout to him with psalms” which this Psalm does.

Perhaps my favorite Psalm is 121.  And that’s only because of our Women’s Bible Study.  The ladies and I say this Psalm every Tuesday afternoon. (We will do it today in fact)  But the Venite is personal for me as well.  I imagine all the Anglican religious of the English speaking world praying this Psalm in universal unison every morning.  “Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.”  It is powerful!  There are many great and wonderful Psalms and a few that I can’t warm up to. I tend to like the joyful and praising Psalms.  Many people like the 23rd Psalm.  I think we all should peruse through the Psalms and try to hold onto one or two.  My “relationship” with the first seven verses of Psalm 95 has to do with saying it every day in seminary and in my own morning prayers since.  It is now a part of me.  For those of you who may be curious, the melody I sing to is S-35 for Daily Morning Prayer II, in the 1982 Hymnal. I love singing the Venite.

Today we remember James Weldon Johnson Poet, 1938 for June 25

“James Weldon Johnson was born on June 17, 1871, in Jacksonville, Florida. His parents stimulated his academic interests, and he was encouraged to study literature and music. Johnson enrolled at Atlanta University with the expressed intention that the education he received there would be used to further the interests of African Americans. He never reneged on that commitment. In the summer after his freshman year, Johnson taught the children of former slaves. Of that experience he wrote, “In all of my experience there has been no period so brief that has meant so much in my education for life as the three months I spent in the backwoods of Georgia.” After graduation, he became the principal of the largest high school in Jacksonville, during which time he was paid half of what his white counterparts were paid, even though the school excelled under his leadership.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for June 25)

I am familiar with James Weldon Johnson’s work through my reciting his “Creation Story” from his book of poetry, God’s Trombones (1927). These are seven biblical stories rendered into verse, and was influenced by his impressions of the rural South. We used his Creation Story for Easter Vigil.  It is quite a literal interpretation of scripture but it is a lot of fun. The language is old-timey with a Southern, African American, slant.  As Johnson was a very educated man I am guessing he wanted to use language that would bring in all those on the fringes. I believe he did just that. 

“In 1906, Johnson was invited to work for the diplomatic corps and became U.S. Consul to Venezuela and later Nicaragua.  During his Nicaraguan tenure, Johnson was a voice of reason and reconciliation in a time of civil unrest and turmoil. His ability to bring together people of differing viewpoints toward a common vision served Johnson well in the 1920’s, when he became an organizer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).”  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for June 25)

Thank you Jesus for the saints in our lives.  John+

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