For God alone my soul in silence waits. (Psalm 62.1 1979 BCP)
The prayer book I use contains the Psalms from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. This verse from Psalm 62 was the first verse of Scripture I read this morning, and it struck me not only with its patience and hope but with its beauty and rhythm. The poetry of the Psalms is not like typical English poetry, as I've discussed before, but this verse is written (intentionally or not) in iambic pentameter, which is wonderfully lyrical and poetic to the native English speaker--thank you, Mr. Shakespeare!
The juxtaposition of poetic rhythm with the hard theological truth of waiting for God to act in the midst of hardship, persecution, and his seeming inactivity is what really hit me this morning. Here we have beauty and pain held together, side-by-side, at the pen of the Psalmist. Two things we would normally not associate with one another are intertwined. In many ways, this pairing is descriptive of life itself.
For God alone my soul in silence waits; from him comes my salvation...
For God alone my soul in silence waits; truly, my hope is in him.
Our salvation and hope comes to us this morning on the lips of Jesus, in the Gospel reading from St. John. “Peace I leave with you," Jesus tells us. "My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful" (John 14.27 CSB). In this hope, we can rest. In this promise, we can trust. In this peace, we can wait.
Father, I ask Thee to take from me now
all that does harass and annoy,
all that has laid upon my heart burdens of anxiety and care.
I thank Thee for the stillness of this time of prayer-
this oasis in my busy day
when I can relax before Thee,
lay my burdens down,
and handover to Thee all my anxieties.
At this moment,
I open my heart to receive Thy blessing;
knowing that in Thy presence
The furrows are being smoothed from my brow,
The lines from my face,
the load from my heart,
the doubts from my mind,
the fears from my soul,
and I am at peace.
And now I thank Thee,
not only for Quietness without,
but for Thy quietness at the heart of the universe and
for quietness within. In Thy presence, I pray.
-- Peter Marshall (1902-1949), Chaplain of the United States Senate