I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. Psalm 144:9 (KJV)
It’s been old home week for me of late. Old home weeks, actually.
It began on a somber note. A bittersweet weekend with aunts, cousins and old friends at my dear Aunt Gerry’s funeral July 27 in Pittsburg, Kansas.
A much happier occasion followed. Off I flew to Chiefland, Florida for a few day’s vacation and my mother’s 85th birthday celebration on August 21.
Last weekend, it was a much shorter trip. An hour’s drive north to Denison to see my brother Chris, his wife Linda and their new home.
Yesterday I had lunch with a few old friends I haven’t seen in years – co-workers from my 22 years with Nortel Networks.
On Wednesday, my cousin Steve and I met for lunch. And for the hand-off of a gift for my wife Marcy – a psaltery.
At various times Marcy has played the guitar, the dulcimer, the French horn and the recorder. She even jumped in on a washtub bass one Christmas Eve at First United Methodist Garland. Her real gift is playing and teaching the piano.
And now the psaltery – or psaltry (also a correct spelling) – has been added.
A psaltery is “an ancient and medieval musical instrument like a dulcimer but played by plucking the strings with the fingers or a plectrum (pick).” (lexico.com/en/definition/psaltery)
The psaltery is mentioned 17 times in various translations of the Bible, understandably in reference to playing and singing praises to God. (By the way, our pew Bibles – the New Revised Standard Version or NRSV – do not reference the psaltery, but rather the lyre.)
The psaltery is, of course, related to the word “psalter,” which refers to the Book of Psalms, or “a copy of the Psalms, especially for liturgical use.” (lexico.com/en/definition/psalter)
Those of you who attend our 8:30 Service of Morning Prayer and Communion on Sunday mornings are familiar with the psalters we sing and recite each week from The United Methodist Hymnal
Tomorrow morning’s service is particularly Psalm-heavy (Psalter 756, Psalm 25:1-10; Psalm 121 and Psalm 139:1-18) as Senior Pastor Valarie Englert closes our “Holy Rhythms” worship series with “Night.”
I find this particularly comforting.
In times of sadness as well as times of joy and fond memories, I often turn to music to lift or capture my spirits. What better way to do so than praising our Lord and Savior with the psalters and the psalms.
I don’t yet know what Marcy will choose to play on her psaltery. But whether it be psalters, classical music or classical rock, I’ll enjoy it. They’ll all be reminders of God’s blessings and God’s grace.