with Revd Howard Peskett
“Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a lamp to my path.”
A missionary friend in North Thailand, sensing a great darkness, felt the Lord give her Psalm 62. The next day she found her husband’s body and that of a friend on a lonely mountain track. The psalms are the church’s oldest hymn book. They have shone in dark ages, times of reformation, times of revival. They have strengthened housewives, soldiers, the sick, sailors, scholars, the housebound, poets, writers. Psalm 83 was read in the Czech parliament in August 1968 as Russian tanks rumbled through the streets. Psalm 27.1 is the motto of Oxford University. Psalm 127.1 is engraved on the foundation of the Eddystone Lighthouse. Bishop Ridley read Psalm 4.8 and slept well the night before he was burned. On 28th October 1885 Bishop Hannington, one of the first missionaries in Uganda, wrote in his diary, “I am quite broken down and brought low. Comforted by Psalm 27.” The next day he was hacked to pieces by the king’s soldiers. There are hundreds of other examples in Lord Ernle’s book, The Psalms in Human Life, published in 1909.
The habit of reading or singing the psalms in church has declined. If we attended the principal Sunday service every Sunday for three years, and read the psalm prescribed for that service from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), at the end of those 153 Sundays we would only have read 47 complete psalms; parts of 41 other psalms; and 62 psalms would have been entirely omitted.
Unlike most song books, the Psalms contain songs for every mood. They are the heritage of the universal church, our birthright. On this study day, we will:
Howard Peskett is a retired priest living in Penzance, formerly the Dean of the Discipleship Training Centre in Singapore; the Vice Principal of Trinity College Bristol; the Rural Dean of Penwith. He has spent a lifetime encouraging men and women, in Asia and in the UK, to believe that they can themselves discover the meaning and the wonder of the Bible as they seek to love and follow Christ.
10am Coffee, 10.30am Start, 4pm Finish.
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