Sunday, July 6, 2014
Psalmody Psunday: 123
What better way to keep up a new habit of blogging daily than by shamelessly showing up late to the party that my sister Chandra and cousin Jenny have been hosting on their blogs? “Psalmody Psunday” is an idea that Jenny came up with as a ten-minute devotional/writing exercise/mutual blogging accountability tool for herself and Chandra; you can read her explanation and first Psunday entry here, Chandra’s here, and then consider joining in and sharing if you blog. For my first attempt at this, I’ve chosen Ps 123 -- not because it’s the one Jenny began with (I’d read her inter-textual meditation on 123, but later forgot about it until I reread it this morning; thankfully my interpretation doesn’t repeat much of what she says!) mainly because it stuck with me a few nights ago when I couldn’t sleep and was reading the Psalms/Songs of Ascents -- the portion of Israel’s hymnbook devoted to songs of pilgrimage, to be sung especially while journeying to Jerusalem/Mount Zion, as for Passover.
That night, with brain unable to sleep but with eyelids sandpapery with fatigue, I must have been particularly prone to noticing the images of eye movement: I lift my eyes to you (123:1) as the eyes of slaves look to their master’s and mistress’ hands (v. 2); so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy. Not by any means the only time the Psalms refer to our eyes “looking to” the Lord, but one of the most stark, because of that unapologetic use of the story of slave and master/mistress. Nothing those who are willing to sing this song can do will introduce the mercy required; it is in the master’s hand to give or to hold onto for another moment. The slave can only choose whether to keep “looking” -- or not; the singer or worshipper can only choose whether to sing, and thus to rehearse this story, to take on such a role, and to worship -- or not. For to enter and rehearse is to begin to see the comparative “so” in this simile as more causative, like a so that means therefore. So our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.