Thursday, March 1, 2012

Commentary on the 91st Psalm and its Poetic Adaptation as a Hymn

By Stirling Watts CS

These inspiring words are adapted from those of Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, two Irishmen who were adherents to King William, to whom Brady was a chaplain, circa 1700 A.D. This text also appears as the words to Hymns 99 and 100 in The Christian Science Hymnal:
He that hath God his guardian made
Shall dwell beneath th’Almighty’s shade;
Thus of the Lord I now will say,
He is my fortress, shield and stay,
My God; in Him I will confide
And in His secret place abide.
His tender love and watchful care
Shall free thee from the fowler’s snare.
He over thee His wings shall spread,
To cover thy unguarded head,
And from the noisome pestilence
His truth shall be they strong defense.
He gives His angels charge o’er thee,
No evil therefore shalt thou see.
Dwelling within His secret place,
Thou shalt behold His power and grace;
Thy refuge shall be God most high,
See His salvation ever nigh.
This poem, as does the 91st Psalm itself, tells of us of God’s ever at-hand, permanent, protective, and healing power. We can all partake of witnessing that Truth and feeling the healing hand of His Love when we mentally rise in prayer above the false testimony of the evil called disease, which deceitfully claims to reside with us. God, good, being ALL, evil would claim an impossible victory for itself.  Its supposed selfhood can only reside in an imaginary realm OUTSIDE of God’s infinity. Where would such a place be? To God, that place would only be a dream realm. How can we get to a place outside of an infinity of Love? Where is the barrier of infinity, an infinity filled with Love? We can never really be in such a place, but we as humans can certainly entertain the false conviction that we are. Anyone who has ever awakened from a frightening nightmare knows the feeling of the sudden realization, that what we were convinced was threatening us, was not really in the realm of reality. In the same sense, we as humans live in a conviction of an environment called human consciousness. This can often seem like a nightmare. When we at least partially awake from that state of false conviction through prayer, our real and perfect spiritual state becomes more apparent. Healing will feel much like the awakening from a nightmare.
Through sincere, holy, and truly uplifting prayer, we always win, in spite of frightening human appearances and presentations of outcome which defy God’s goodness.

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