15 The eyes of all wait upon thee;
and thou givest them their meat in due season.
16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
–Psalm 145:15-16 (KJV)
The high school choir I was part of in San Francisco would attend a choral clinic of choirs from all over Northern California. We assembled in Stockton, California for a full day of rehearsal and learning music from noted choir directors, as well as noted conductors of orchestra and band.
The insight I gained from one of those clinics was based on an anthem from Psalm 145:15-16, King James version. I hear that anthem every time I read these verses. The memory of that anthem is a musical Lectio Divina in my life.
Lectio Divina is a prayer that has us hear the words and music, “chew on” them for a while, then listen for how the Holy Spirit might be whispering to us. Is there a song you put on “repeat one” and listen to over and over? That just might be words and music your soul is singing.
In the case of my high school choir’s song, the words begin with the theme, “The eyes of all wait upon Thee…and Thou givest them their meat in due season.” The harmony is rich and the melody begins to build with anticipation. The music lends depth and highlights how we see God and how God provides for us in due season.
But then comes the next verse. The intensity of the harmony, dynamics, and passion increase – “Thou openest thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing!” I hear the choir echoing the phrase “of every living thing” at least 3 times with great intensity. I am filled with goose bumps as the music hits a crescendo and emotional climax. What a musical power of Spirit!
Then, the choir returns to the opening phrase of the 15th verse. “The eyes of all wait upon Thee.” The melody, harmony, and dynamics slow down to a thanksgiving as we conclude how all eyes are gazed at the wonder, majesty, provision, and grace of God. It ends with an almost imperceptible silence as the final chord magically fills the auditorium.
My take on this and encouragement is to imagine a melody with the words I have shared. It could be a more up-to-date translation, even. No, I do not have a recording of 50-plus years ago, but we can imagine a melody in our minds and hearts. We can seek a word from God in a Lectio Divina fashion and prayerfully imagine what dynamics and intensity might be in our rendition of hearing this psalm.
Lectio Divina has the power to open us to how God’s Word and Spirit are speaking to one’s heart. Let the melody of your heart and the sounds and imaginations of your mind bring a praise to our God. “For the eyes of all wait upon God.”
Praise be to God,
Rev. Dr. John J. Duling, retired Presbyterian clergy and Certified Spiritual Director