A few posts ago when I was reflecting on psalm 75 I invited you all to the book launch for David’s Crown. Unfortunately when I did that I used a temporary link for the event which turned out to be the wrong one and didn’t allow you to register. I have gone back and corrected that on the original post, but here, for the avoidance of all confusion, is the original invitation and this time with the correct link:
‘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. ‘
And now, continuing the series from the new book, here is my response to psalm 78. This is a wonderful long psalm in which the psalmist looks back on the dramatic story of Israel and how they were rescued from Egypt and brought into their promised land. But the psalm faithfully remembers not only God’s gracious rescue but also Israel’s many backslidings, and God’s nevertheless persistent grace. This story, the psalmist says, must not be hidden, but proclaimed afresh to each new generation both so that they should know that God is gracious and that they should learn from the mistakes of the past. What was true then is true now, and in my response I have tried to tell the story, as I do throughout David’s Crown, of my own experience of gracious rescue and also of my own fallings away from, and grace-led returns to, my saviour.
As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the play button or the title.
He led me out of darkness into light
And now I will proclaim all he has done
To rising generations. My delight
Will be to share the story of the one
Who came to me before I came to him,
Whose love still greets me with each rising sun.
But neither will I hide my sin and shame;
The many times that I refused his grace
And turned my back on him, forgot his name
And sought my former darkness, turned my face
Away from my redeemer. I’ll confess
My own perversity, and dare to trace
My wilful trespass in the wilderness
And how through all of this, my Lord stayed true
And pulled me through with patient tenderness.
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