June 9: We Got Psalms

Who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah?
And who shall stand in his holy place?

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;
Who hath not lifted up his soul unto falsehood,
And hath not sworn deceitfully.
Aw, shit. I was told merely "clean hands" would be enough.

Because of my relatively churchy background I can't even see these Psalms (23 through 32, inclusive, if you're scoring at home), through the fog of all the other times I've read/heard them, either at church, or, at Christmas:
Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
And be ye lifted up...
I can hear the (period authentic!) instruments sawing away right now. Perhaps as a corrective, one might add a "y'all" here and there --
Who is the King of glory[, y'all]?
Jehovah strong and mighty,
Jehovah mighty in battle [y'all].
I have no doubt there's translations like that already; I'm enough of a Tory that I prefer King James (or some early version of RSV; it's not clear what translation they're using). On the other hand, this afternoon when I was reading this it was really noisy and I kept losing the thread for all the fine cadences. So I'd say a line very softly to myself, to focus, and when you say something like "Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions" softly, you feel like you're in a movie where some heavy shit is about to go down.

And, of course, once you identify with the Psalmist, you too can have heavy shit going down in your life. Suddenly the fact that you screwed up the Jenkins account can be dignified with:
Because of all mine adversaries I am become a reproach,
Yea, unto my neighbors exceedingly,
And a fear to mine acquaintance:
They that did see me without fled from me.

I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind:
I am like a broken vessel.

For I have heard the defaming of many,
Terror on every side:
While they took counsel together against me,
They devised to take away my life.
Which brings me to my other observation, which is that for all the Psalmists' protestations of the excellence of Jehovah, they sure do find themselves in trouble a lot:
When I kept silence, my bones wasted away
Through my groaning all the day long.

For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me:
My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer.
That Jehovah, always changing the moisture on you. I believe he does it every 3,000 miles, or 40 days and nights, whichever comes first.

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