Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hallelujah!


149  Cantate Domino


1
Hallelujah!
Sing to the LORD a new song; *
    sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.


2
Let Israel rejoice in his Maker; *
    let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.


3
Let them praise his Name in the dance; *
    let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.


4
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people *
    and adorns the poor with victory.


5
Let the faithful rejoice in triumph; *
    let them be joyful on their beds.


6
Let the praises of God be in their throat *
    and a two-edged sword in their hand;


7
To wreak vengeance on the nations *
    and punishment on the peoples;


8
To bind their kings in chains *
    and their nobles with links of iron;


9
To inflict on them the judgment decreed; *
    this is glory for all his faithful people.
    Hallelujah!

This is our psalm for this coming Sunday, Psalm 149. It’s invariably good news when the psalm number is higher than 145, because psalms 146 through 150 are the “Hallels” and “hallel” means “praise.” Each of the last five psalms begins and ends with the word “Hallelujah,” they’re all praise songs. Depending on the Bible translation being used, it might be rendered 
  • Alleluia
  • Hallelujah
  • Praise the Lord
The “hallel” means praise, and the “jah” (or “ia”) at the end of the word is short for “YHWH” or “Yahweh.” In last Sunday’s lesson from Exodus chapter three, we heard God tell Moses that his Name is “Yahweh” or “I AM” and will be so throughout all generations forever. Hebrew piety, however, is never to pronounce God’s holy Name, but to substitute “Adonai,” in English, “The Lord.” 


Verses 6-9 of Psalm 149 may not be politically correct these days, and whoever feels that way can go tacit while the rest of us sing out. But "PC" or not, victory over the foe was good news for ancient Israel and still is so for us today. 

RIght shoe first and Hallelujah!
TW+
  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Those Were The Days

Red ribbon in the typewriter and no time to change it this morning. No matter, this can be brief. 
Knowing my obsession with cars, my brother and sister each forwarded to me an email  about a Pontiac that General Motors built for the 1939-1940 World’s Fair in New York. It was eye-catching and an enormous hit at the GM display because the “skin,” the covering that normally would be steel, was a brand new material, Plexiglass. 
The email is titled “1939 Pontiac Ghost Car commands $308,000 at auction,” and has an article about the car and several revealing photographs inside and outside.

Along with gratitude at my siblings' thoughtfulness, my second thought was fascination. Car bodies are routinely plastic, fiberglass nowadays, but not seventy years ago. My first sight of a car with a plastic body was Spring 1954 at a GM technology show on the University of Florida campus. It was a 1954 Corvette. Today both of our GM cars make extensive use of fiberglass in the body. 
My first thought was that whoever wrote the article doesn’t know much about cars, and certainly doesn’t know Pontiacs. 
That plexiglass car is a 1940 Pontiac, not a 1939 Pontiac. Nowadays a new car model is unveiled and will be in production five or six years, with perhaps the only changes being a few new color selections. But every autumn in those days, the automobile manufacturers unveiled new models with changed body-styles for the new year ahead. 

It may have been a waste somehow, a marketing gimmick, yes, though essential for keeping pace with the competition, but it created great anticipation and excitement for some folks. Or maybe it was just me.

The good old days.

Tom

Monday, August 29, 2011

How To Say This?

“Forgive but don’t forget” may sometimes be trite, maudlin, pious nonsense, even offensive. 
At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitburg is an account of the debacle surrounding President Ronald Reagan’s 1985 visit to the German military Kolmeshohe Cemetery near Bitburg, Germany. Intended by the President and the German Chancellor as a gesture of healing between bitter, deadly foes forty years after World War II, the visit created an uproar of protest because of 32 rows of headstones, 49 members of Hitler’s Waffen SS were buried there. The SS were central in the Holocaust in which more than six million Jews and other innocent human beings were systematically murdered by the Nazis. Many, many people and groups, including Jewish groups, protested the visit. The Wikipedia article describes the event fairly objectively.
At the time, an Episcopal priest who was a friend of mine preached a sermon in which he asserted about the Holocaust that after forty years it was time to forgive and forget. The sermon was well-meaning but trite nonsense. Some offenses are beyond either forgiving or forgetting. And if there is to be forgiveness, the only ones in this life who can forgive are the victims, who include unborn generations to the end of time, of those murdered. Bystanders can neither forgive nor judge those who do not forgive.
Yesterday’s news reported that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi is comatose and near death in Tripoli. He has prostate cancer. Megrahi is the Libyan man convicted of the December 1988 atrocity that brought down PanAm flight 103 over Scotland just before Christmas, murdering 259 passengers and crew and eleven people in Lockerbie, Scotland. Murdered passengers on PanAm 103 included college students, American sons and daughters on the way home from schools in England for the Christmas holidays. Victims include those young American children and their loved ones, as well as grandchildren and generations who will never be.
There need be no talk of forgiveness in this life for Megrahi. Nor for the man behind PanAm 103, Muammar Gadaffi, fugitive Libyan dictator on the run from justice. Megrahi will die unmourned. When he is caught in hiding, Gadaffi will follow in the footsteps of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
May the ousting and eventual passing of Muammar Gadaffi help bring some closure to all of his victims of the past four decades. He will be an unforgotten evil tyrant of history. Of forgiving him: some may, none must. 
TW
    

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Not Nothing

Nothing profound to say about Hurricane Irene. TV weather people standing ankle deep, leaning into the wind as Atlantic surf washes lightly around them. No longer an “M” on the National Hurricane Center map, it’s a one, not a four, three, or even two. At 75 MPH this morning a minimal “H” and perhaps an “S” before day is done. Will there be a Cantore Story? In his blue slicker, is that real or is he standing in front of a fan while a crewman sprays a hose? 
Relief or disappointment when news doesn’t turn out as bad as media frenzy hyped? 
Show of hands: who would evacuate PC or PCB for a Cat 1 storm? Hold up your hand.
New York City is prepared. A tornado warning was up for Queens this morning, so it’s not nothing, definitely not nothing. PACKING A PUNCH says the PC News-Herald front page headline this morning. Three million without power, several people killed. No hurricane is a nothing, and Irene has been a monster.

Sunday morning, 78 F. and not even a breeze in 32401.
Read the comics and head for church.
Tom

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sing It Out, Sing It ALL

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c (BCP)
    
1
Give thanks to the LORD and call upon his Name; *
   make known his deeds among the peoples.


2
Sing to him, sing praises to him, *
    and speak of all his marvelous works.


3
Glory in his holy Name; *
    let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.


4
Search for the LORD and his strength; *
    continually seek his face.


5
Remember the marvels he has done, *
    his wonders and the judgments of his mouth,


6
O offspring of Abraham his servant, *
    O children of Jacob his chosen.

23
Israel came into Egypt, *
    and Jacob became a sojourner in the land of Ham.
24
The LORD made his people exceedingly fruitful; *
    he made them stronger than their enemies;


25
Whose heart he turned, so that they hated his people, *
    and dealt unjustly with his servants.


26
He sent Moses his servant, *
    and Aaron whom he had chosen.
45c Hallelujah!
The psalm for tomorrow is a portion of Psalm 105, chosen as the response to the Old Testament lesson from Exodus 3, where God introduces himself to Moses and calls Moses as his agent to lead the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. The psalm snippet is a fair selection for that purpose.
For church tomorrow we sing only a portion, unfortunate for several reasons. First of all, the rendering above is rather insipid. Then, Psalm 105 is 45 verses, far too long for impatient Christians to chant or even read responsively unless it’s Lent, when we expect to be punished: seeing that it isn’t Lent, we get off easy. But the psalm is no bashful sissy, it shouts powerful victory for Israel, and can get squirmy if one is not Jewish. Remembering God’s covenant, with Abraham, it’s Heilsgeschichte, salvation history with God leading Israel triumphantly out of Egypt through the wilderness and into the promised land. If anyone is accepting assignments, the assignment this Sabbath morning is to read Psalm 105 from start to finish in The Message translation below. 
It's quite a story. If it doesn’t sound like good news to a timid 21st century American, it sure as aitch was good news for Israel, to whom it belongs. It’s a great story, like a ballad, sung, shouted victoriously, rowdily, to the accompaniment of a loud brass band with drums and cymbals, people clapping and with hands in the air praising God. Too rowdy to be sung in the temple, it needs to be on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, maybe during Mardi Gras, or the evening before a Saints game.


Or in The Swamp after a Gator victory.
Psalm 105 (The Message)
1-6 Hallelujah! Thank God! Pray to him by name! 
      Tell everyone you meet what he has done! 
   Sing him songs, belt out hymns, 
      translate his wonders into music! 
   Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs, 
      you who seek God. Live a happy life! 
   Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; 
      be alert for signs of his presence. 
   Remember the world of wonders he has made, 
      his miracles, and the verdicts he's rendered— 
         O seed of Abraham, his servant, 
         O child of Jacob, his chosen. 
 7-15 He's God, our God, 
      in charge of the whole earth. 
   And he remembers, remembers his Covenant— 
      for a thousand generations he's been as good as his word. 
   It's the Covenant he made with Abraham, 
      the same oath he swore to Isaac, 
   The very statute he established with Jacob, 
      the eternal Covenant with Israel, 
   Namely, "I give you the land. 
      Canaan is your hill-country inheritance." 
   When they didn't count for much, 
      a mere handful, and strangers at that, 
   Wandering from country to country, 
      drifting from pillar to post, 
   He permitted no one to abuse them. 
      He told kings to keep their hands off: 
   "Don't you dare lay a hand on my anointed, 
      don't hurt a hair on the heads of my prophets." 
 16-22 Then he called down a famine on the country, 
      he broke every last blade of wheat. 
   But he sent a man on ahead: 
      Joseph, sold as a slave. 
   They put cruel chains on his ankles, 
      an iron collar around his neck, 
   Until God's word came to the Pharaoh, 
      and God confirmed his promise. 
   God sent the king to release him. 
      The Pharaoh set Joseph free; 
   He appointed him master of his palace, 
      put him in charge of all his business 
   To personally instruct his princes 
      and train his advisors in wisdom. 
 23-42 Then Israel entered Egypt, 
      Jacob immigrated to the Land of Ham. 
   God gave his people lots of babies; 
      soon their numbers alarmed their foes. 
   He turned the Egyptians against his people; 
      they abused and cheated God's servants. 
   Then he sent his servant Moses, 
      and Aaron, whom he also chose. 
   They worked marvels in that spiritual wasteland, 
      miracles in the Land of Ham. 
   He spoke, "Darkness!" and it turned dark— 
      they couldn't see what they were doing. 
   He turned all their water to blood 
      so that all their fish died; 
   He made frogs swarm through the land, 
      even into the king's bedroom; 
   He gave the word and flies swarmed, 
      gnats filled the air. 
   He substituted hail for rain, 
      he stabbed their land with lightning; 
   He wasted their vines and fig trees, 
      smashed their groves of trees to splinters; 
   With a word he brought in locusts, 
      millions of locusts, armies of locusts; 
   They consumed every blade of grass in the country 
      and picked the ground clean of produce; 
   He struck down every firstborn in the land, 
      the first fruits of their virile powers. 
   He led Israel out, their arms filled with loot, 
      and not one among his tribes even stumbled. 
   Egypt was glad to have them go— 
      they were scared to death of them. 
   God spread a cloud to keep them cool through the day 
      and a fire to light their way through the night; 
   They prayed and he brought quail, 
      filled them with the bread of heaven; 
   He opened the rock and water poured out; 
      it flowed like a river through that desert— 
   All because he remembered his Covenant, 
      his promise to Abraham, his servant. 
 43-45 Remember this! He led his people out singing for joy; 
      his chosen people marched, singing their hearts out! 
   He made them a gift of the country they entered, 
      helped them seize the wealth of the nations 
   So they could do everything he told them— 
      could follow his instructions to the letter.
   Hallelujah!
And let all the people shout, Amen!
TW+


Friday, August 26, 2011

Not a Food Column

Last Friday we drove up to the Atlanta area to see Kristen off to her freshman year at college. We stayed over the weekend, then returned home via Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, spending a night at one of their inns. 
The previous week must have been jammed with tourists and visitors; but with school just starting the fall session, we were practically alone, both at the inn and visiting various attractions, the butterfly center, the horticulture center, the country store, the chapel. Sunday afternoon in the chapel, there was an hour long concert of hymns and other music on the Moller organ, which we thoroughly enjoyed and counted as our worship for the Lord’s Day.
In the butterfly center we saw butterflies of all sizes and shapes, brilliant colors, including a large blue one we didn’t know existed, beautiful. The butterflies flit comfortably among the visitors. No cameraman, I tried unsuccessfully to snap the Blue Morpho as it flew around me, then again as it sat feasting on an orange slice; but it kept its wings folded the entire meal, so I settled for a photo from the exhibit in the gift shop.  
Callaway Gardens is close enough to the Atlanta area that we may stay there on future visits instead of coping with the horrendous metropolitan traffic. Besides, there is much to see, and in the few hours we were there, mid-morning Sunday to early morning Monday, we didn’t get to enjoy all that the gardens have to offer. So, definitely more visits.
As usual for us, a traveling highlight was eating. Friday evening supper at R. L.’s Off the Square, a cajun restaurant in Covington, Georgia. It would take a back seat to no New Orleans restaurant we have eaten in. Saturday evening seafood buffet at Blue Willows Inn in Social Circle, Georgia. For years driving north or south, we have planned our trips for lunch or supper there. Now that the Sunday brunch buffet no longer exists in St. Andrews, going to Georgia for a seafood buffet seems the only way to help myself to all the fried oysters Linda will let me eat. Which is not many. Fried oysters, fried green tomatoes, lemon pie. Not to mention the small whole fried catfish. Fried is not my thing anymore, so this was a once a year splurge, SHMG. Sunday lunch in Callaway Gardens was at the Country Store, a window table with mountain view, the vegetable plate with a double portion of incredibly tender and delicious collard greens. Home Monday by noon.
During the recent illness and hospitalization of a long-time parishioner, we met his next door neighbor, who is part owner of The Sandbar at PCB, and ended up going there twice for lunch. Highway 79 between Front Beach Road and Back Beach Road. No fried for me, my lunch was steamed Royal Red shrimp. A new favorite, we’ll go again. 
This isn’t a food column, but another favorite stop at the beach is Bippy’s at Pier Park for the ten or so flavors of frozen yogurt, serve yourself and pay by weight. The flavors vary day to day. It’s a smiley place anyway, but my happiness soars when one of the flavors is chocolate. We stopped at Bippy's yesterday on the way home from Destin and my cup held mostly the Belgian Chocolate. 
TW+

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gardener God


Proper 17    The Sunday closest to August 31
Lord of all power and might, who art the author and giver of
all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name;
increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness;
and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus
Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the
Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This ancient collect of the day for next Sunday dates in Latin from 7th and 8th century Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries (books for celebrating the Mass) and the 11th century Sarum Rite. In his book Commentary on the American Prayer Book (Seabury, 1980), Professor Marion Hatchett aptly describes it as a metaphor of the farmer or gardener. The fruit of good works is brought forth by the grace of God who plants, nourishes, and continues to care.
TW+

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Parenesis


Romans 12
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters,* by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual* worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world,* but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.*
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.* 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;* do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God;* for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ 20No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
If the epistle is too long to read all at one sitting (and Romans is), at least read a complete section at a time and not just a snippet. This summer of Lectionary Year A the church has us reading through Paul’s letter to the Romans, snippet by snippet. The portion appointed for next Sunday is Romans 12:9-21. It wouldn’t seem to have been too much for the lectionary framers to have had us read all of chapter 12 at one sitting, but OK.
In Romans 12, Paul tells, first the Romans and now us, how we should get along with each other within the church. Encourage each other. Each person should try to discern God’s will for his or her role in the church. Different people have different gifts, everybody isn’t the same. Treat each other with kindness.
In the Romans 12 text above, which is from the New Revised Standard Version, an asterisk appears now and then. In the on line source, Oremus Bible Browser, each asterisk opens a note that tells what Paul’s original Greek word said; for example, where it reads “brothers and sisters,” Paul wrote “brothers,” the NRSV converts to inclusive language when it can. 
There are some familiar verses. Verses 6-8 list some spiritual gifts. Verse 14 has the very difficult exhortation to bless and not curse our enemies. Verse 19b is the oft-quoted “Vengeance is mine ... saith the Lord.”
It’s a chapter of exhortation. In seminary classes the professors call it parenesis, the particular part of a letter that encourages, presses, urges.
TW+

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wisdom or Love?

Exodus 3:1-15
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ 4When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 5Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ 6He said further, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7 Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ 11But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ 12He said, ‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’
13 But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ 14God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’* He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” ’ 15God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord,* the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”: This is my name for ever, and this my title for all generations.
Here for next Sunday, August 28, is this wonderful story of Moses and the Burning Bush. Having escaped from Egypt after murdering an Egyptian soldier who was beating an Israelite slave, Moses has met and married the daughter of Jethro, priest of Midian. Tending Jethro’s flock, Moses encounters God, who calls Moses to lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt and who introduces himself to Moses as “I AM.” For God’s name, the Hebrew Bible has the symbol YHWH. The pronunciation is uncertain to Hebrew scholars, but in English is generally spoken “Yahweh.”
A generation ago there was a re-imaging or re-imagining movement of radical feminists who renamed God “Sophia.” Despite that some of those involved were brilliant, well-known theologians, they showed, if not presumption and ignorance, the adoption of a limited God, for Sophia means “Wisdom.” God is not just wisdom: more importantly, God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). And here in the Old Testament lesson for next Sunday, God says “I AM.” God IS, God is being itself. God is whoever or whatever God says God is, in and as God’s Word.
Someone observed that if God were simply Sophia, wisdom, we surely would not exist; but because God is love, we are.  
 TW+


Monday, August 22, 2011

Just Passing Through

A child is someone who passes through your life on the way to becoming an adult.
This weekend we escorted Kristen to her college, told her we love her, hugged and kissed her goodbye. 
Hanging on in my mind is her exclamation the day she started elementary school at HNES. Papa! I can’t believe I’m a grader! The years are long for the child. For a doting parent, the years are gone in a flash. Kristen! I can’t believe you’re in college!
Having passed through, this is the actual becoming.
Fifty-eight years ago my parents drove me to Gainesville and helped me move into my dorm. Later that week my father wrote me that my mother had cried all the way home. She knew: I had only been passing through and it was all over. After that, my times at home were never the same as before. Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas holidays, and summer vacations were uneasy, even strained, because I was no longer willing to be under parental control. I had only been passing through, and had become an adult.
Kristen's time has come. She can handle it. How about Papa? 

A story I used to read to her is chugging through my mind.


We are all just passing through!
TW+

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Psalm 124

Psalm 124 (The Message)
 1-5 If God hadn't been for us —all together now, Israel, sing out!— 
   If God hadn't been for us 
      when everyone went against us, 
   We would have been swallowed alive 
      by their violent anger, 
   Swept away by the flood of rage, 
      drowned in the torrent; 
   We would have lost our lives 
      in the wild, raging water. 
 6 Oh, blessed be God! 
      He didn't go off and leave us. 
   He didn't abandon us defenseless, 
      helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs. 
 7 We've flown free from their fangs, 
      free of their traps, free as a bird. 
   Their grip is broken; 
      we're free as a bird in flight. 
 8 God's strong name is our help, 
      the same God who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 124 is today’s response to the Old Testament reading for today, which is Exodus 1:8-2:10. 
More than four hundred years have passed (Exodus 12:40), Joseph is long dead and forgotten in Egypt and the Israelites have been taken into slavery. Alarmed by the growing population of these outsiders, a cruel pharaoh commands that newborn Hebrew males be thrown into the Nile River to drown. In the Sunday School story that will be read this morning, one little boy is saved, adopted by pharaoh’s daughter, and destiny is set, God’s plan of salvation goes forward. The baby is given the Egyptian name Moses and raised, with what might be called bitter irony, or poetic justice, and even a hint of Jewish humor, in pharaoh’s own household. Through this one Moses, a Prince of Egypt according to the DreamWorks award winning 1998 animated film, God saves the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. 
The psalm responds victoriously to the story.
As chanted in church today, Psalm 124 will be from The Book of Common Prayer. The Message version above is delightful, but the psalms are the hymns of Israel, for singing; while TM version is a charming narrative poetry vignette. It is not set for group chanting or singing, though a minstrel might tell it round a campfire. 
Here’s what will be sung and said and read and heard in church this morning. It should bring to mind the story of Moses. Moses and the Bullrushes. Moses and the Red Sea. Moses and Pharaoh. Moses and the Lord. 


124  Nisi quia Dominus


1
If the LORD had not been on our side, *
    let Israel now say;


2
If the LORD had not been on our side, *
    when enemies rose up against us;


3
Then would they have swallowed us up alive*
in their fierce anger toward us;



4
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us*
and the torrent gone over us;



5
Then would the raging waters *
    have gone right over us.


6
Blessed be the LORD! *
    he has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth.


7
We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowler; *
    the snare is broken, and we have escaped.


8
Our help is in the Name of the LORD, *
    the maker of heaven and earth.

Sunday: the Lord’s Day. 
Right shoe first and praise Him with a psalm.
TW+