How beloved are Thy dwellings, O Lord of hosts; my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God.
For the sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtledove a nest for herself where she may lay her young.
Even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house; unto ages of ages shall they praise Thee.
-From Psalm 83
The Church of England remembers Lancelot Andrewes today, a good occasion for sharing Malcolm Guite’s love offering of a sonnet: “The Word and the Words.” Father Guite wrote his Doctoral thesis on this man, one of the church’s “greatest preachers and the man whose scholarship and gift for poetic phrasing was so central to the making of the King James Version of the Bible.” On the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Guite gave a talk on Andrewes, which audio file is on his site.
Father Guite mentions how influential Andrewes was in his own life; I am no expert and could not talk for five minutes on the subject, but in a previous era of my life his book of prayers kept me going.
Your mind is fixed upon the sacred page,
A candle lights your study through the night,
The choicest wit, the scholar of the age,
Seeking the light in which we see the light.
Grace concentrates in you, your hand is firm,
Tracing the line of truth in all its ways,
Through you the great translation finds its form,
‘And still there are not tongues enough to praise.’
Your day began with uttering his name
And when you close your eyes you rest in him,
His constant star still draws you to your home,
Our chosen stella praedicantium.
You set us with the Magi on the Way
And shine in Christ unto the rising day.
PRAYER for DISCERNMENT
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, who didst lead the people of Israel in a land unknown, a land of drought and deep darkness, a land none may pass through or dwell in: do thou, the same Lord, lead me all the days of my life, giving me to discern the times and their signs, and to redeem time’s passage – for the days are evil – guiding me in the way that I should go, that I may ever say: I love thee, O Lord, for thou hast heard the voice of my supplication from my mother’s womb, yea, from all eternity, and thou art the Way and the Truth, and the Resurrection and the Life, the Sunshine that ripens all who live and repose in thee, the Peace of God, and also our Peace with him: always, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
From Orthodox Christian Prayers
Christ Pantocrator, Decani Monastery, Serbia, 14th century.
THE 23rd PSALM
The God of love my shepherd is,
And he that doth me feed:
While he is mine, and I am his,
What can I want or need?
He leads me to the tender grass,
Where I both feed and rest;
Then to the streams that gently pass:
In both I have the best.
Or if I stray, he doth convert
And bring my mind in frame:
And all this not for my desert,
But for his holy name.
Yea, in death’s shady black abode
Well may I walk, not fear:
For thou art with me; and thy rod
To guide, thy staff to bear.
Nay, thou dost make me sit and dine,
Ev’n in my enemies’ sight:
My head with oil, my cup with wine
Runs over day and night.
Surely thy sweet and wondrous love
Shall measure all my days;
And as it never shall remove,
So neither shall my praise.