02 November 2010

150 (103-105)

103.  "Bless the Eternal, my soul; and all that it is within me, bless His holy name.  Bless the Eternal, my soul; and forget not all his awards (like love and mercy.)"  Again with the Hebrew and its rhyming sounds.  The sense of being overwhelmed, encompassed.  "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgression from us." 

Go to the park.  Lay in the grass.  Look up at the sky.  Try to grasp a mercy or love as great as the height as the heaven above; try to imagine compassion and kindness as vast the distance between the farthest points east and west.

Our fate is beyond our mere physicality.  So much time passes that eventually our names are worn off the stones that mark the place our bodies are laid to rest.  And by then our bones have turned to dust.  And after time, even the stones wear away. 

It's at that moment when we realize our names are all One.

104.  Many of the psalms are poetic re-creations of past events in Jewish history, rendered as expressions of faith, a new take on old narratives.  This psalm recalls Creation, its purpose, and how it might be remembered, generations after the story was first rendered by the Tradition.  Having said that,  I wonder that this line is doing there:  "And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, making the face brighter than oil, and bread that stayeth man's heart."  In the general category of food, I suppose, but still.  The agenda seems clear--drink in moderation is alright (unless of course it isn't, a particular pain some feel.)

Onward.  "Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening.  How manifold are Thy works,  Eternal!  In wisdom hast Thou made them all; the earth is full of Thy creatures."  We work but at the end of the day we stop.  I believe the implication here is that God is in a constant state of creation, an expression of wisdom that we are given the ability to apprehend.  Life's ongoing force is never abated.  Again, up against our limits, we are humbled by our comparative smallness when set beside the Source of Life.  "I will sing unto the Eternal as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have any being."

And then, silence.

105.  Similarly, another recapitulation is here found not in the Creation narrative but in the story of Israel's Covenant.  Past acts in the narrative of the Jewish people are pronounced, given dramatic literary form.  Memory, covenant and commandment converge on one another, a formula with the strength of a thousand generations.  Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The Land.  Joseph.  Enslavement in Egypt.  Moses and Aaron.  The Plagues.  Redemption through the Red Sea.  The Pillar of Cloud and Fire.  Water from the Rock.  And Law. 

Again with the Curriculum.  But it works!  But it works!

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