The Lovely New Moon Shining: a Response To Psalm 81

After the sorrow and lamentation expressed in psalms 79 and 80, psalm 81 comes us a beautiful moment of uplift, with the sound of trumpets and the clear shining beauty of the new moon:

  1. SING we merrily unto God our strength: make a cheerful noise unto the God of Jacob.
  2. Take the psalm, bring hither the tabret: the merry harp with the lute.
  3. Blow up the trumpet in the new-moon: even in the time appointed, and upon our solemn feast-day.

Then the psalm looks back to all that God had done for Israel in the past, how he had ‘eased their shoulder from the burden’ and that renewed memory of grace gives the psalmist confidence for the future. My response to this psalm follows a similar pattern, and like the psalmist I have found that the beautiful clarity of the moon shining high above our passing troubles, becomes a symbol of hope.

As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the play button or the title and you can find the other poems in this evolving series by putting the word ‘psalms’ into the search box on the right.

The full set of these poems has now been published as a book David’s Crown which you can buy from UK Amazon Here, or, in North America, it should soon be available from Amazon Here.

There is also going to be a launch event/webinar on Feb 11th at 7pm GMT it will be completely free and you can register for it Here.

LXXXI Exultate Deo

Till shadows flee at last, and sorrows cease

Come down and ease our shoulders from the burden

To give our straining hearts some soft release,

 

Lest from sheer weariness they shrink and harden.

Refresh us with the memory of grace,

Remind us of your mercy, of that pardon

 

You won for us forever from the cross.

Then we will lift a lighter song to you

And glimpse beyond our loneliness and loss

 

The lovely new moon shining, and the true

Signs of the kingdom coming, where they gleam 

And kindle in the east, still showing through

 

This present darkness, even as a dream

Of light before the dawn. Send us a sign

That things are not so hopeless as they seem.

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5 Comments

Filed under imagination

5 responses to “The Lovely New Moon Shining: a Response To Psalm 81

  1. I am so enjoying dipping in to David’s Crown and reading your beautiful responses to the individual psalms.

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Malcolm, just lovely and so hopeful. Does David’s Crown contain your response poems to all the psalms?
    L.

  3. Barbara L Parry

    So encouraging!

  4. kvmagruder

    Malcolm, I love the poem!!!

    But a quick trivial point about:
    “ The lovely new moon shining…”

    If the Moon was shining, it was not in the New phase (during which it has its dark side turned toward the Earth). Of course, it could be “new” in a colloquial sense, relative to the person who was just now noticing it.

    When the Moon is visible to us as a white circle, it is Full. In its Full phase, it rises in the east precisely at sunset, as the Sun is going down on the opposite horizon. When the Moon is Full, it is also visible all night long.

    Peace
    Kerry Magruder

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