Meditation 8: Psalm 36.5-11 (Monday of Holy Week)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgments are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your salvation to the upright of heart!

Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me,
or the hand of the wicked drive me away.

Psalm 36.5-11

Today’s reading from the Psalms opens with a triumphant affirmation of faith, reminding us of God’s steadfast love which extends to the heavens.

The pairing of God’s steadfast love alongside his faithfulness to whole of his creation provides us with a powerful description of God’s benevolence, something that is precious to all people of faith.

All who read these verses are helped to see that righteousness and judgement are also expressions of God’s love for humanity; we can take refuge under his wings and find ourselves welcome guests at his heavenly table.

As we journey through Holy Week this is an important message for us all to hear.

As the week goes on we will travel an increasingly dark and fearful road.

In just four days we will find ourselves standing at the foot of the cross watching our Lord and Saviour dying an ignominious and agonizing death.

Before that moment we may even find ourselves in the midst of the crowd baying for his execution, despite being in the same crowd that hailed his entry into Jerusalem just twenty-four hours ago.

This is a week of challenge, of fear and of despair.

However, these verses from Psalm 36 can give us hope for what is to come at the end of the week.

After the glorious words which open today’s reading from the Psalms we come to these wonderful words: For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

The fountain of life is, of course, God.

This phrase is one that suggests energy, health and limitless nourishment.

This is an image that was used by Jesus himself: … those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give them will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life. (John 4.14)

As we tread the dark path of the coming days we need to cling on to this message.

The writer and retired priest, Barbara Mosse, wrote of humans who tend to swing between amnesia and despair.

This is a week during which this can be very true.

This week we live through the consequences of human sin.

As we make that terrible journey let us pray for the protection of the God whose steadfast love extends to the heavens.

And, let us daily renew our hope and trust in God by drinking from the ultimate thirst-quenching fountain of life.