The Voice of the Lord: a response to Psalm 29

Psalm 29 is one of those short psalms that thrills with an intense, almost electric poetic charge. It is a celebration of  ‘the voice of the Lord’ singing and ringing through nature and yet resounding and commanding from above and beyond nature:

It is the Lord that commandeth the waters: it is the glorious God that maketh the thunder.

It is the Lord that ruleth the sea; the voice of the Lord is mighty in operation: the voice of the Lord is a glorious voice.

The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedar-trees: yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Libanus.

He maketh them also to skip like a calf: Libanus also, and Sirion, like a young unicorn.

The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire; the voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness: yea, the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Cades.

A Christian praying and responding to this psalm does so knowing that the Lord whose voice is celebrated in this psalm is Christ, whose voice is also within us as well as beyond us, who speaks to us in the voices of the poor and in his own Passion and compassion.

As usual you can hear me read the poem by pressing the ‘play’ button if it appears, or else by clicking on the title. For the other poems in my psalm series type the word ‘psalm’ into the search box on the right.

XXIX Afferte Domino

Call us oh Christ, and open up the gate

Call us to worship, with your mighty voice:

The voice that sings through rivers in full spate

 

The voice in which the forests all rejoice

The voice that rolls through thunderclouds, and calls

The deep seas and steep waves, the quiet voice

 

That stirs our sleeping conscience and recalls

Us to the love we had abandoned, leads

Us through the parting mists of doubt, or falls

 

Upon us like a revelation, pleads

With us upon the poor’s behalf, blazes

In glory from each burning bush, and bleeds

 

Out from compassion’s wounds, raises

Our spirits till we dance for joy

And gives us too, a voice to sing his praises.

 

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10 Comments

Filed under christianity, Poems

10 responses to “The Voice of the Lord: a response to Psalm 29

  1. I dearly want to hear this in my church – or any church- as a benediction! Thank you for the reminder of what this Psalm means.

  2. I like the stirring call to worship, the command to open wide the gates so that the ‘king of glory’ can enter. But we read and agree from the tumulteous description that follows that God is everywhere – abroad in his mighty and strong creation. I love the ‘deep seas and steep waves’. The gentle voice of conscience guides us beautifully through mists that dissolve as we approach.
    we are’ drawn back to that love’ but soon we survey the plight of the loveless and the pain suffered because of our betrayal of them. Our conscience ‘falls upon us’ – reminds me of Jacob ambushed at the river Jabbock – wrestling with the angel. I see Joseph pleading for his family’s purchase of food during the famine, and Moses who was placed on a new path by the voice from the burning bush. We see Jesus in Gethsemane succumbing to the will of God, the final confrontation – the whispered, agonising conversation between him and God. The victor’s cup is held high, dearly bought.
    A stirring, exciting, panoramic view of the terrain and dynamic of divine relationship. Dreadfully compelling.
    Thank you.

  3. Alice Hornbeck

    Yes, you and Scotford above, both beautiful to read.

  4. Beautiful reading of a beautiful psalm

  5. David C Brown

    Interesting that there is the voice of power of God, but also His’ soft gentle voice’, 1 Kings 19:12.

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