Wednesday 16th September

September 16th 


And can it be?    Charles Wesley (1707-1788)


Psalm 116    Thanksgiving for Recovery from Illness

1 I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
   I suffered distress and anguish.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I pray, save my life!’

5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.
6 The Lord protects the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
9 I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
10 I kept my faith, even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted’;
11 I said in my consternation, ‘Everyone is a liar.’

12 What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
16 O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving-maid.
   You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!


This psalm is for anyone who is brought ‘low’ (aren’t we all a bit depressed these days?), brought even to the brink of death and then, against the odds, and by sheer grace, restored. ‘The Lord protects the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me’ (v5).

Everything is different after that, the rest of the psalm is a recalling before the Lord of reasons for thankfulness.

    Each new day dawns as an unexpected bonus (v1,9). All one does is a gift received from God, a gracious and unexpected extra. We are told by those who study trauma that recovery is strangely liberating; there is a lightness and freedom, a sense of life’s untrammelled over abundance (v12, 13, 16, 17).

    When you have received a grace you can’t possibly repay, the specifics and calculations of debt fall away and every act is graced with gratitude ‘I will lift up.. I will offer…, I will pay…’ (v13,14,17,18)

    How shall I repay?     I will lift up the cup of salvation’ (v13) Whatever the OT temple tradition is here, we are reminded of Communion to which ‘love bade me welcome’ (George Herbert). Christians know we cannot repay the host. In non-pandemic times, we take the cup of salvation, share the feast and eat.



As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

may we call upon your name,

raise the cup of salvation,

and so proclaim your death, O Lord,

until you come in glory. Amen.


George Herbert, Welsh poet (1593-1633)

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back

                              Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack

                             From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,

                             If I lacked any thing.


A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:

                             Love said, You shall be he.

I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,

                             I cannot look on thee.

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,

                             Who made the eyes but I?


Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame

                             Go where it doth deserve.

And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?

                             My dear, then I will serve.

You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:

                             So I did sit and eat.



Earth’s fragile beauties we possess    Robert Willis (B. 1947)  St Cuthbert's Wells and Wookey Hole

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