Psalm 53 returns to the opening line of Psalm 14: ‘Dixit Insipiens:
- THE foolish body hath said in his heart: There is no God.
And if such perverse folly was the exception in the culture of Ancient Israel, it has become the rule in our own, and so for us this psalm has a contemporary ring. For me the folly is not so much in the moral failures which this psalm deals with as in the perverse materialist philosophy, the arrogant refusal of every intimation of immortality, the closed mind towards religion which one encounters everyday in the very people who make a boast of being open-minded, and as you will see that has formed the core of my poem in response to this psalm. But the poem, like the psalm which inspires it, is also a prayer, a prayer that God will undo our dark confusion, and, as he promised in Isaiah, take away the veil that covers the nations.
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.
Though we will flourish in God’s house forever,
We live within a world that counts him out
Of every calculation, one that never
Considers that it might be wrong. No doubt
Can pierce our presumption. We dismiss
The wisdom of the past, and yet we flout
The principle of open-mindedness,
Presuming from the start on our conclusion.
That cast of mind has cast a spell on us:
A spell of disenchantment, the illusion
That only matter matters. Break the spell
Lord Jesus and undo our dark confusion,
Deliver us again, remove the veil,
The thin familiar film that covers wonder,
Let us rejoice to see your light prevail.
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