Psalm 66

Come and See- Come and Hear

1 July 1921

I was delighted to get your letter this morning; for some reason it had been sent first to a non-existent address in Liverpool. I had deliberately written nothing to you since those two you mention: not that I was tired of the job, but because I did not feel disposed to go on posting into the void until I had some assurance that my effusions would reach you. That seemed a process too like prayer for my taste: as I once said to Baker—my mystical friend with the crowded poetry—the trouble about God is that he is like a person who never acknowledges one’s letters and so, in time, one comes to the conclusion either that he does not exist or that you have got the address wrong. I admitted that it was of great moment: but what was the use of going on dispatching fervent messages—say to Edinburgh—if they all came back through the dead letter office: nay more, if you couldn’t even find Edinburgh on the map. His cryptic reply was that it would be almost worth going to Edinburgh to find out.  

TO HIS BROTHER, WARREN LEWIS: On prayer as writing letters to someone who never replies.

What a strongly evangelical psalm this is!  [G. Knight].  It begins, ‘Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth….’   Here’s the miracle of worship, and good cause for a joyful noise. We are not alone. We dare to envision that people who don’t know or believe in our God are unwittingly joining us, or at least included even if they didn’t show up. And those who used to worship, or still do on another shore: “Sing, choirs of angels … Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above.” And we urge the earth, all the dazzling wonders of creation, to join us (Revelation 5). Of course, the trees, birds, mountains, rivers and clouds are already praising God simply by being. “All the earth worships you” (vs. 4).

John Wesley’s directions for how to sing a hymn make us chuckle: “Sing lustily … Beware of singing as if you were half asleep….”  Does God ever yawn during our worship which may not be that joyful after all?

There are two key movements in this psalm which provide us with food for thought: 

One – ‘come and see what God has done; God is awesome in His deeds among mortals’ (v.5).  For Israel, the awesome originating act in their history was the Exodus escape from Egypt, crossing the Red Sea into freedom.  God ‘brought Israel out to a spacious place’ (v. 12).  

Substituting Israel’s story for the story of the European Protestant exodus from persecution to freedom is a pretty easy move. Just as God parted the Red Sea to free Israel, so too did God offer safe passage across the Atlantic for our forebears who saw the land as empty and uncivilized (see the Doctrine of Discovery on this).  Just as Israel was destined to take over Canaan, so too the ‘Christian Europeans’ were destined to take the New World from its indigenous peoples. 

Any people that hope to stand in the congregation of the world and embody the awesomeness of God in any sort of evangelical or city on a hill kind of way must get back to the roots of God’s will for humanity (and the church must be clear about the gospel):

  • to be a nation that loves justice, mercy, and walks humbly with God;
  • to be a nation that cares for immigrants, widows, and orphans;
  • to be a nation that practices Sabbath and jubilee, so that people and land may be restored into producing more good fruit.

As citizens of this good country of Canada, we must lament that we have not yet arrived to that good and spacious land where all can breathe and glorify their Creator.  We must also lament the ways Christ was weaponized to enforce a New World.   


16 Come and hear, all you who fear God
       and I will tell you what God has done for me:
God’s mighty acts need proclaiming.  The psalmist is not shy about proclaiming God’s care, boldly and courageously.  This is not an argument about the existence of God but simple witness.  As the man born blind proclaimed, ‘This one thing I know, though I was blind, now I see’  (John 9). 

So, to counter C.S. Lewis’ thought that prayers often seem like unanswered letters, our psalmist concludes with a ringing affirmation:

20 Bless God!  God didn’t reject my prayer;
    God didn’t withhold his faithful love from me. – ‘Over my head’