Sing us one of the songs of Zion – looking at the Psalms

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

With the psalms, this series reaches the book of the Old Testament most heavily used by Christians. It is the most quoted in the New Testament, and most read, sung and prayed in the life of the church. The Lectionary for Mass, which became the basis of the Revised Common Lectionary, reintroduced the psalms to celebrations of the Eucharist, and did so in a particular way.

Older eucharistic services, whether the Latin Missal or the Book of Common Prayer, only had an epistle and gospel reading, with chants or (eventually) a hymn between the two. When the new lectionary introduced an Old Testament reading (linked to the gospel) it also introduced a psalm which in some way responded to the Old Testament reading.

Continue reading “Sing us one of the songs of Zion – looking at the Psalms”

How should we pray in public about the election?

Elections pose even more problems than usual for people who prepare and lead prayers in their churches. That is never more true than in situations like the present: divided politics, polarised societies, and partisan journalism. There is a sense that the skeleton that has largely underpinned the body politic is, if not exactly broken, in a state of advanced osteoporosis.

So what should those who lead prayer say, if they are to enable the church as a whole to agree in prayer? The problem is that the phrases that unite are often sufficiently anodyne to disguise a multitude of meanings.

Continue reading “How should we pray in public about the election?”