Psalm 104 - Songs of a Madeiran Friar ~ audio

Songs of a Madeiran Friar - Ancient Wisdom in a Reflective Mode

Psalm 104

~ verses 24-34, & 35b

Theme Tune: Down Ampney

Psalm 104 : “the best statement…for reflecting on the ecological crisis” - Walter Brueggemann, theologian

"it is worth studying the Hebrew language for ten years in order to read Psalm 104 in the original". Johann Gottfried Herder, German philosopher (1744-1803)

This experimental and bilingual (English/Hebrew) version of a psalm is offered as a voice of the quiet celebration of beauty, even within a wider context of loss and lament for an endangered planet, and is designed as a Franciscan reflection and a contribution of ancient wisdom to an integrative spirituality.

Madeiran Friar* Brother Sun plays gentle reflective music, while reading a portion of Psalm 104, alternately by the full verse, based on the inclusive-language version of the revised Liturgical Psalter of the Anglican Church of Canada (2019 CE), and the Hebrew text of the Leningrad Codex (1008 CE)

Among educational and reflective purposes, the video may serve, for example, within a study on climate change or climate crisis, as a pause for spiritual or theological reflection, or within an introductory or closing period of quiet. It may also be used for personal prayer or group meditative or contemplative contexts, such as lectio divina or visio divina

Psalm 104 finds a traditional daily use in the morning prayers of Judaism - a Tefillah (prayer) of the daily service of Shacharit (Shacharis) in the Ashkenazi tradition.

Within Christian liturgical tradition, Psalm 104 frames the Easter Season by its use within the Easter Vigil, as a response to the first reading (from Genesis 1), and again 50 days later as the psalm appointed (psalm of the day) on the Day of Pentecost.


In simplicity, I dedicate this psalm reflection to the work of the Center for Action and Contemplation as a community "on the edge of the inside", and in honour of the integrative ministry of Richard Rohr, OFM, in “renewing the face of the earth” (Ps 104.30), with appreciation for my own journey and connection with the CAC, within Anglican and Franciscan life, as a companion of the Society of St Francis, as a priest of the Diocese of British Columbia, Canada, and of the Diocese in Europe.

Acknowledgments and Credits

Textual Resources in English: The Canadian Anglican Psalter (2016/2019 General Synod version, emended with reference to the translation of the Divine Name, YHWH, as “Holy One”, and with any other additional variants in text or formatting noted) -

Textual Resources in Hebrew – the Leningrad Codex (public domain) - version 26.1, with fonts provided by permission of the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL)

With appreciation to the Rev. Michael Jarman, Chaplain, and the Wardens of Holy Trinity, Funchal, for their hospitality, their sharing in ministry, and for the use of beautiful space for recording

Original adaptations and interpretations of the tune Down Ampney, from the Canadian Anglican Hymnal Common Praise, 645, by R. Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), copyright Oxford University Press, used with permission.

Formatting and layout (textual versions), vocals, musical accompaniment and interpretation, original photography and videography (audio-visual versions): Andrew Twiddy, CompanionSSF.


* Madeiran Friar – a literary name taken from a very rare and endangered European seabird, known locally in Portuguese as the Freira da Madeira (Madeiran Nun). Its call is a deeply plaintive cry of lament, its collar resembles a nun's habit, and it nests only on the remote and mostly inaccessible cliffs of Madeira’s highest mountains, above the Curral das Freiras, the Valley of the {Franciscan} Nuns. The birds are noted for their migratory flight between Canada and Madeira, and are, of course, honorary "nuns", since they have mates, nests, and chicks.

Madeiran Friar and Brother Sun are Andrew's mutually-inclusive noms-de-plume - affective expressions of imagination, self-understanding, and intention.