Come let us sing for joy to the LORD[1]

Some years ago, I sat quietly in a very old and beautiful church in Barnby Dun, near Doncaster before a service.  Like many old church buildings, it had a deep atmosphere of prayer.  This was one of those thin places between earth and heaven, where people had poured out their hearts to God in joy and sorrow for countless generations.  I wondered as I prayed, which Bible text had been spoken aloud most in this church down the generations.

The answer (I think) is Psalm 95 which for many years was set at the beginning of Morning Prayer and therefore spoken aloud by the clergy and others who came to pray each day.  Psalm 95 for many, many years helped to shape Anglican worship and therefore Anglican identity.

The shaping comes through deliberately turning our lives back to the LORD[2] every day.  Left to ourselves, our hearts drift away from God as surely as a boat is carried downstream by the river’s flow.  We have an inbuilt tendency to turn inwards upon ourselves and away from God’s light and God’s love.

This is why we need to come each day in prayer to the LORD.  If we can, it’s helpful to come at the beginning of each day. Through the words of Psalm 95 we turn our hearts back to the LORD, who loves us, who welcomes us, who calls us by name.

As we make that daily return, the Psalm invites us to come not simply to “God”. We might think of God as an impersonal power who created the universe.  The Psalm invites us to come to the LORD.  This is God’s personal name, revealed to Moses in Exodus 3 and revealed to us.   The LORD wants us to know him by name.  The LORD invites us daily into a personal relationship with our creator through Jesus Christ.

Resolve this coming year to get to know the LORD in deeper ways and to begin each day with a turning back.This post is one of a series of daily reflections on Psalm 95 in January, at the start of the Diocese of Sheffield Centenary Year

 [1] Psalm 95.1 NIV translation

[2] Whenever the LORD appears in capitals in the NIV and NRSV, the Hebrew word it translates is YHWH, God’s name revealed to Moses.

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