In the words of James L. Mays, “The psalms have a double identity. They are both scripture and liturgy.” This is what I am telling the singers who are preparing for the pilgrimage to cathedrals and abbeys in the west of England. Of course, for them, this hardly needs saying, since they all know that the psalms are an integral part of the Hebrew bible. And our pilgrimage singers know exceedingly well (after many hours of rehearsal) that psalms are part of the liturgy: during the course of our eight days on British soil, we will have prepared some 67 verses of five different psalms for evensong services.
Everyone knows Psalm 23 – and to most people, that psalm is most comforting in its most popular translation. But as I delved into our pilgrimage Evensong psalms, I found myself needing to compare three or four translations so that I could have greater understanding of what the Jewish people were praying for – and sometimes praying against (the enemies!).
Here are the houses of worship where we will be singing with the associated psalms:
August 8 – Bristol Cathedral – Psalm 41
- August 9 – Tewkesbury Abbey – Psalm 22
- August 10 – Bath Abbey – Psalm 24
- August 11 – Bath Abbey – Psalm 28
- August 12 – Gloucester Cathedral – Psalm 108
If you have a few moments, spend some time with our Evensong psalms. You can pray and praise along with us and we bring the message of River Road to a foreign land.
Written by Bob Gallagher