March 12: Psalm 85

March 12: Psalm 85

God’s Salvation is Near

77.77                         Aberystwyth (Jesus, Lover of My Soul), p. 189
Take My Life and Let It Be

Lord, thine heart in love hath yearned on thy lost and fallen land;

Isr’els race is homeward turned, Thou has freed Thy captive band:

Thou hast borne Thy people’s sin, covered all their deeds of ill;

All Thy wrath is gathered in, and Thy burning anger still.

Turn us, stay us, now once more, God of all our health and peace;

Let Thy cloud of wrath flee o’er, from Thine own Thy fury cease.

Wilt Thou ne’er the storm assuage on the realm of Thy desire,

Length’ning out from age to age Thy consuming jealous ire?

Wilt Thou not in mercy turn? Turn, and be our life again,

That Thy people’s heart may burn with the gladness of Thy reign.

Show us now Thy tender love; Thy salvation, Lord, impart;

I the voice divine would prove, list’ning in my silent heart:

List’ning what the Lord will say, “Peace” to all that own His will:”

To His saints that love His way, “Peace,” and “turn no more to ill.”

Ye that fear Him, nigh at hand now salvation health ye find,

That the glory in our land, as of old, may dwell enshrined.

Mercy now and justice meet, peace and truth kiss and embrace;

Faith from earth is springing sweet, justice looks from her high place.

Nor will God His goodness stay, nor our land her bounteous store:

Marking out her Maker’s way, righteousness shall go before.

“Thou hast borne Thy people’s sin, Covered all their deeds of ill; Mercy now and justice meet, Peace and truth kiss and embrace.” In these lines, Psalm 85 gives a canticle honoring both facets of the Incarnation (the history-defining encounter of two worlds), wherein the Lord will grant His mercy, and our earth shall give its fruit. “Truth has arisen from the earth,” we pray in this psalm, speaking of the Child born unto us; “and righteousness has stooped down from heaven,” we go on, telling of the Son given unto us. In this mystery of God’s reconciliation, then, is fulfilled the prophecy of our psalm: “For His salvation is near to all those who fear Him, so that glory may inhabit our earth.” This glory inhabiting our earth is what was first seen when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” This is the Christ, “being both begotten of the Father before all ages, and created from the Virgin in these final times” (Ambrose). We pray with confidence, then, in the words of our psalm: “Righteousness will go before Him, and will make His footsteps into a way.” (Reardon, p.167-168)

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