Engravings Every Hour

Wednesday, January 29
Psalm 9

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Photo Courtesy – http://www.nadinewouldsay.com

This psalm, together with next week’s Psalm 10, forms an acrostic: the first word of each stanza begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This literary style provides a thread of unity in the absence of a more developed sequence of thought. Some early Bibles counted these two psalms as one.

When taken individually, each letter of an alphabet stands on its own. Do the same with each group of verses that make a stanza or strophe. Imagine each one printed or engraved upon your soul. The psalms are prayers of strong expression.

From the deep, inward experience of David and other psalmists, let each stanza make a powerful impression. You might engrave and shape every hour of your day by each one.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
I thank You with my whole heart. v. 1
Singing praise to the Most High v. 2
You a stronghold in distress v. 9
Lord, You are gracious to me. v. 13

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms,
one each week over the three-year cycle.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12,
so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions
near the International Date Line.

“Violin” – An Alphabyte

Alphabytes are object meditations
that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Violin” introduces the ninth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide:
autumn in the north, spring in the south.
Alphabytes in Kingdomtide: “Nose” to “Zoom Lens”

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

It soars, it stretches, it strains—so does the sound of heaven sing in the strings.
How joyous must the wood feel, wedded to wire, waiting for the drawing touch!

If the wood would speak, someone once imaged it saying:

“Dum in silvis, silui—Nunc mortua, cano.”
“While I was in the forest, I was silent.
Now that I’m dead, I sing.”

“Pencil” – An Alphabyte

Alphabytes are object meditations
that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Pencil” is in the Third of Thirteen Weeks in Kingdomtide:
autumn in the north, spring in the south.
Alphabytes in Kingdomtide: “Nose” to “Zoom Lens”

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

Hovering over the relentless movement of time from past to future
is the point called NOW.

The goal: perfect at-one-ment with the now,
as the contented feeling of being on a journey,
enjoying the changing landscape, never preferring the scene just past,
or impatient for the beauty to come.

Each moment of the journey is worthy to be journaled, drawn.
The secret: self suspended above the moment, like a pencil standing on its end,
open palm pressing the eraser, balanced to support the hand.
A move away from the vertical … the hand falls.

When guilt and shame push from the present,
when fear of future nudges from now,
a fall takes place, a bruise on the spirit.

So take the now and sink into it:
“The Point of Power Is the Present.”

“Arc” – An Alphabyte

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

Two points inseparably distant embrace in the union of a fire leap.
Standing rigidly apart, creative kinship bonds the two,
    eternally made to face each other.
There is the Father, there is the Son and the leaping love between them:
    the Holy Spirit.
There is God; there is you, and the Spirit-arc of fire across the gap.
There is the Bible soaked in sacred speaking;
    there is your ear soaked in sacred silence.
And the Word becomes flesh in yours through the leaping joy of the Holy Spirit.

Pause to poise before you listen.
Ready yourself to hear the ageless Word become the now-Word for you—
    just for you—as though yours is the only face
    that stands before the face of God.

Alphabytes are object meditations that move through the alphabet
two times in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year. We continue the second half of the sacred year with 26 of these that will take us from “Arc” to “Zoom Lens” and then onto the First Week in Advent.

“Yoke” – An Alphabyte

Alphabytes are object meditations that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Yoke” introduces the Sixth Week in Easter.

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

Yokes bind, burden, but also bless.
    A young ox learns to pull the plow, blended with a brother beast
who knows the pace and patient plodding of the path
    for the new seeds’ growth.
Never alone—always together as the life-work moves.

So in Jesus, who invites you to take his yoke heavy with the world’s weight,
    yet light now because the crossbeam yoke has broken the harsh
    resistance to love, to goodness, flowing now the lighter,
    since always yoked with Christ in the pull-power of the Spirit.
So learn from this meek and humble Lord ever at your side,
    always teaching, always pulling,
    till the whole field of your life is sown with the Word.

The fields are planted.
Yokes and oxen rest while gently day by day, sun and rain draw food and flowers
    from the moist earth, soon to send their leaves dancing in the breeze.

“Xylophone” – An Alphabyte

Alphabytes are object meditations
that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Xylophone” introduces the Fifth Week in Easter.

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

Bars of wood—xylon; ascending in sound—phone.
Hear the sounds of cross-wood making a scale till
    the octave, Easter to Pentecost, resonates in sweet harmony.

No more the sound of banging, howling, wailing, crying, shouting
    of twisted body made straight, hammers pounding hands,
    feet and ears with death-dealing sounds.
Silence alone echoes from the cross as Good Friday evening finds
    all bodies gone—dead and living.
Only wind’s whistle passes through bare beams braced against the sky.

Now the cross is buried into paper-wood.
Word of God sounds forth as the Spirit knocks and skillfully strikes
    the soundboard of the heart, echoing sounds of heaven
    from selves once dead, now brought to life
    as Jesus’ touch of love awakens new music in the soul.