The Song Of Heaven: A Response to Psalm 75

We come now to Psalm 75, a milestone in our journey through the Psalter for now we are exactly half way through! Before I write about this psalm and give you my poem in response, I’d like to take occasion to celebrate the fact that David’s Crown, the book in which all these poems are collected will be published at the end of this month, and also to invite you to a special celebration and launch event! On February 11th at 7pm Canterbury Press, my publisher will be hosting a webinar in which I will be joined by Christine Smith, my editor, and three distinguished guests, to discus the book, and the more generally the role of the psalms in our contemporary life, and to choose, read, and comment on a selection of the poems. My guests are Paula Gooder, the distinguished Bible Scholar and Canon theologian at St. Paul’s Cathedral, who wrote the introduction to the book, David Taylor, the professor of Theology at fuller, who wrote ‘Open and Unafraid’, a superb book on reading the psalms in a contemporary setting, and Roger Wagner, the artist and poet who has just published The Book of Praises: Translations from the Psalms. It should be a wonderful evening, it will be completely free and you can register for it Here. 

David’s Crown will also be available to order at a discount that evening for those who register for the webinar.

Now, turning to psalm 75, I feel we reach an upland of clarity and confidence after the dark material with which some of the other psalms have been dealing, particularly the lamentation and protest of psalm 74. In psalm 75 the psalmist is assured that in the end, ‘God is the Judge’, that he alone ‘bears up the pillars of the world, and that in the end he will renew the earth and set all wrongs to right. As in so much of the Old Testament, there is still of course a strong element of fear, fear of judgement and fear of wrath, and the image of that in this psalm is of a cup full of blood red wine which the earth will drink to the dregs:

For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red: it is full mixed, and he poureth out of the same.

As for the dregs thereof: all the ungodly of the earth shall drink them, and suck them out.

But of course for the Christian this image is completely transfigured by the sacrifice of Christ and the gift of holy communion. as I say in my poem:

we lift our heads and gaze 

At you in wonder, for we see the cup

The psalmist feared, so full of blood red wine,

Is now a cup of blessing, life and hope.

As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the play button or the title.

LXXV Confitebimur tibi

When darkness fled before your holy Word

You brought a world of beauty into being.

The sons of morning sang, creation heard

 

The song of heaven, and its echoes fleeing

Still stir a kind of music in our hearts,

As traces of that light transform our seeing.

 

And when we hear those echoes, heaven starts

A song in us that lifts us into praise.

You show us how the wickedness that hurts,

 

The sin that harms creation, the dark maze

Of our confusions, will be broken up

And cast aside. We lift our heads and gaze 

 

At you in wonder, for we see the cup

The psalmist feared, so full of blood red wine,

Is now a cup of blessing, life and hope.

 

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “The Song Of Heaven: A Response to Psalm 75

  1. CHARLES C TWOMBLY

    Thanks, Malcolm. Your conversing with the psalms gives fresh meaning to ancient words. Don’t stop the conversation!

  2. mothermiller

    Thanks as ever for the wonderful blog and best wishes for David’s Crown. May it be another great success and find an enthusiastic readership.

    The link to Feb 7th takes us to a YouTube page rather than a registration for the webinar. Is there any other way to register?
    Thanks

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks I’ll check about registration- I may be wrong about that and it may be that the YouTube link is all you need. I’m waiting to hear from the organiser. I’ll post about this again when I know

  3. bgulland72

    Lovely imagery in this poem, culminating in the transformed cup… thanks. And I’ll plan to join the webinar, sounds great!

  4. Susie

    Thanks so much for this and I have already ordered the book.

    I would love to join the evening launch but the link just took me to a You Tube channel rather than any form of registration.

    Can I just follow the link on the day or is there a step I have somehow missed?

    Best wishes and thanks for giving me a daily fillip via your emails,

    Susie

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks! I think I may have been wrong about registration- it may just be that you just go to that YouTube link on the day! I’ll post again if that’s not the case

  5. Julie Sellers

    Hello –

    The link to register for the February 11th webinar only takes me to a YouTube channel. How do I register for this event? Thank you so much and blessings in the new year.

    Julie Sellers

  6. Pingback: An Invitation and a response to psalm 78 | Malcolm Guite

  7. Will the event remain on YouTube or is it only live? I signed up, but I’m in Idaho, USA and the event is at noon for me. I’m at work then and hopful it will be there for me later…

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