Psalm chants

Wed, 03/06/2009 - 17:05 -- James Oakley

Anyone wanting to learn how Anglican Chant works as a musical style for the Psalms could look at a couple of introductory webpages.

There is a helpful one on the BBC website at

There is a helpful one on Wikipedia at, where I particularly like the example given - with a colour-coded musical stave that can be matched up to the text of part of the Magnificat printed in the same colours. Nice.

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Enjoy the metaphors in Psalm 61

Wed, 29/04/2009 - 09:09 -- James Oakley

They are not uncommon metaphors in the Psalms, but one after the other they offer a wonderful barrage of imagery portraying the security, shelter, help and support that God's people can find in their God. This was the shelter that Jesus availed himself of, first and foremost, and by extension is available to all who are in Christ.

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Singing Psalm 100:4-5 in Hebrew

Sat, 28/03/2009 - 09:13 -- James Oakley

We've been having a most enjoyable, instructive and edifying Lent Course here in Kemsing. John Goulding, a retired Anglican clergyman, has been taking the sessions, leading us through some of the Psalms. The feel of the evenings has been pleasantly relaxed, and as we've wandered together through the Psalter we've noticed all manner of things that has brought those Psalms to life in new ways. Many, many thanks to John for taking this course so well for us all.

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The use of Psalm 69 in John 2:17

Wed, 11/03/2009 - 16:37 -- James Oakley

Psalm 69 is David praying to God about his enemies that are more numerous than the hairs on his head. He is fearful lest others who love God suffer because David is known to love God and is in disrepute. It is because of his zeal for God that he suffers.

Verse 9, quoted in John 2, comes in that context. David has zeal for God’s house, and because of that zeal he is suffering as he is. So, “consume” does not just mean “absorb”, in the sense that he is consumed with passion for God’s house. Rather, his zeal for God’s house is eating him up; it is leading to his mistreatment.

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Psalms and the Lord's Prayer

Wed, 24/09/2008 - 15:41 -- James Oakley

How do we pray the Psalms as new covenant Christians? What difference does it make that they have been prayed before — now not just by king David but by king Jesus?

Is there any mileage in seeing the Lord's Prayer as a key part of this answer?

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40 days in the wilderness

Tue, 20/05/2008 - 08:45 -- James Oakley

Why does Jesus spend forty days in the wilderness, confronting public enemy number 1 (Satan, the accuser of the people of God), immediately after he has been declared Son of God (echoing Psalm 2) at his baptism?

I know that one answer is that it relates to the 40 years Israel spent in the wilderness. Jesus must be faithful at the exact point at which they failed.

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Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Tue, 04/03/2008 - 15:19 -- James Oakley

A few of us spent a good hour, a few weeks back, reading and reflecting on Psalm 42-43.

We did talk about when Jesus might have prayed such a Psalm, and thought that Gethsemane was the kind of moment.

What we didn’t pick up

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