Lo, I Come: A Response To Psalm 40

Just beforeI continue with my psalm series, may I say thank you to everyone for the many messages of support, prayer and condolence, you have sent to me after mother’s death. I have been greatly comforted, and it was of course a comfort and blessing to have been with her when she died, and to send her on her way home with poetry prayers and blessings. She was very much the source of poetry in my life, and one of my later psalm poems, which I will share with you in due course, is a thanksgiving for my birth and for my mother. There will be a time, later, on this blog, when I am able to say more, but for a now, as I am sure she would wish, I am going to continue quietly with this series.

Psalm 40 is a favourite with many people and with good reason. It celebrates being lifted out of the miry clay and set firmly on the rock, and being given a new song to sing. Then, at its heart it has that beautiful revelation that it is not sacrifice and burnt offerings that God desires, but rather that we should come to him ourselves with open hearts and minds:

Sacrifice and meat-offering thou wouldest not: but mine ears hast thou opened.

Burnt-offerings, and sacrifice for sin, hast thou not required: then said I, Lo, I come,

In the volume of the book it is written of me, that I should fulfil thy will, O my God: I am content to do it; yea, thy law is within my heart.

It was that theme of coming to him with all we are, heart and soul, which formed the core of my own response to this psalm. This poem was also the occasion to express the heart of how I read the psalms as a Christian, and in some sense the key to this poetic sequence:

I sing my psalm in Christ who sings in me,

A new song made in his Love’s mystery

Christ had the psalms on his lips in his lifetime and when, as Christians, we pray and sing them, we do so with and in Christ, whose coming as Messiah is prophesied in so many of the psalms themselves.

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.

XL Expectans expectavi

The stone itself will soon be rolled away,

I wait in patience, all expectantly,

Firm on this rock above the miry clay

 

Where he has set me in his loving mercy.

I sing my psalm in Christ who sings in me,

A new song made in his Love’s mystery:

 

‘Your wondrous works all rise like wings in me

And lift my heart to praise. I hear your call,

The simple call of Love: Oh come to me,

 

Bring me no gifts, for I have made them all,

Just bring yourself, and open up your heart.

And so I come to you and bring you all,

 

All that I am and have been; joy and hurt,

Glory and shame, I bring you everything,

That you might make me whole in every part.

 

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15 Comments

Filed under christianity, Poems

15 responses to “Lo, I Come: A Response To Psalm 40

  1. Sister M Joan Greenberg

    I was not aware of your loss until I received this last of your magnificent Psalms. Please accept my most sincere condolences and prayers. Your work has been for me a light in the dark, joy in hard moments, inspiration to carry on, and comfort in troubles. May you find abundance of the blessings you are giving to the world. I pray in gratitude for you and ask the peace of God for you. With respect, gratitude, and love, Sr. M. Joan Greenberg

  2. Karen Foster

    Dear Malcolm, I’m sorry that you have lost your mother, but how wonderful that you were with her as she left this earth. God grant you peace and comfort as you grieve.
    Blessings,
    Karen Foster

  3. Malcolm,

    I’m very sorry to hear of your mom’s death. The age is irrelevant. Your mom is your mom. She has the most beautiful face and expression in the photo you put up on Twitter. May she rest in peace and may you be comforted.

    Take care.

    Louise

  4. Memory eternal to your beloved mother.

  5. J. Allan Taylor

    Dear Malcolm

    I have only just seen that your mother died recently. It is always a great comfort when you can be with a close relative in their last moments in this life.

    Please accept my condolences at this difficult time.

    Blessings Allan

    Rev. J. Allan Taylor BA (Hons) ACP BRC Circuit Tutor, Wey Valley Methodist Circuit Free Church Chaplain @ Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust

    01483 200 464 07708 573661 # goose.bush.hush

    >

  6. “The simple call of love”. Your line says it all. Best wishes, Michael

  7. Thank you so much for this series. And deepest condolences for your recent loss.

  8. David C Brown

    “asleep through Jesus”
    Perhaps what I wrote when my mother died my resonate with you:
    https://dcbverse.blogspot.com/2013/07/mother_19.html

  9. lynndmorrissey

    Malcolm,
    Please accept my deep condolences. I am just now reading about your beloved mother’s death. Being extremely close to my own mother, I can only fathom your loss. That your mother gave you her gifts of language and poetry must evoke in you such a sense of blessing, gratitude, and indebtedness. Death was not meant to be, and your pain is real. I’m so very sorry. I pray that God will comfort you in knowing your mother lives in His presence and that her words will live on here, through you. Words are your life. So, she gave you the gift of life twice over, through your birth and the poetry you birth. I can’t imagine how proud of you she was.
    In Him,
    Lynn

  10. Pingback: Be Merciful Unto Me: A Response To Psalm 41 | Malcolm Guite

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