Wednesday, October 12, 2016

and the evening and the morning ...

Couple shots at church Wednesday evening, of the little folks, but not going to print them, as everyone doesn’t like their children’s pictures published. But this I’ll say, that if Jesus can only make it to one Holy Nativity service a week, I know which one he attends, and it’s clear who owns the place. The kingdom, that is.

Driving home along WBeachDrive, the sunset was coloring sky and Bay bright pink. I tried but failed to capture it from my seat in the car. No matter, I saw it for real.

As we arrived home the moon was sitting high over downtown Panama City, green nav light to the far right, Χάρων still coming for me. Night ops at Tyndall, noisy jets, flashing lights on the control tower, green white green white green white ... love it. As I close down, a Navy helicopter chopping across the way, recalling my first Navy helicopter ride, over Mayport Naval Station, south over our house at Neptune Beach and wondering if Linda and Malinda could hear us, don't think Joe was born yet, Jacksonville Beach and back one evening in, what 1960. Would I go back?  

Venus low over Thomas Drive and the Gulf of Mexico. 

O Lord, support us all the day long until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last.


Morning, Thursday morning and what do I fear. The Lord is my life and my salvation, what then shall I fear? Well, there are eight verses, not the beautifully condensed national hymn we know, but the whole poem, at the last verse concluding the prayer, the original words "America! America! God shed his grace on thee Till nobler men keep once again Thy whiter jubilee!" Some may be surprised that "God shed his grace on thee" is no acclamation of a fact, but a prayer, a plea for the grace of God. With a sense of stars falling, I'm looking for the day of nobler men. 

Walking along Sunday morning's path, the psalm interests me. It's one segment, the letter "M" of a forced acrostic that shows the psalmist's skill, which truly is quite impressive, in composing a Hebrew song that works progressively through the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In this stanza, each line begins with the letter Mem, the "M" sound, even if and though the result doesn't necessarily hold together so well as coherently flowing poetry:

תהילים 119:97-104 Westminster Leningrad Codex

97 מָֽה־אָהַ֥בְתִּי תוֹרָתֶ֑ךָ כָּל־הַ֝יּ֗וֹם הִ֣יא שִׂיחָתִֽי׃
98 מֵ֭אֹ֣יְבַי תְּחַכְּמֵ֣נִי מִצְוֺתֶ֑ךָ כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם הִיא־לִֽי׃
99 מִכָּל־מְלַמְּדַ֥י הִשְׂכַּ֑לְתִּי כִּ֥י עֵ֝דְוֺתֶ֗יךָ שִׂ֣יחָה לִֽֿי׃
100 מִזְּקֵנִ֥ים אֶתְבּוֹנָ֑ן כִּ֖י פִקּוּדֶ֣יךָ נָצָֽרְתִּי׃
101 מִכָּל־אֹ֣רַח רָ֭ע כָּלִ֣אתִי רַגְלָ֑י לְ֝מַ֗עַן אֶשְׁמֹ֥ר דְּבָרֶֽךָ׃
102 מִמִּשְׁפָּטֶ֥יךָ לֹא־סָ֑רְתִּי כִּֽי־אַ֝תָּ֗ה הוֹרֵתָֽנִי׃
103 מַה־נִּמְלְצ֣וּ לְ֭חִכִּי אִמְרָתֶ֗ךָ מִדְּבַ֥שׁ לְפִֽי׃
104 מִפִּקּוּדֶ֥יךָ אֶתְבּוֹנָ֑ן עַל־כֵּ֝֗ן שָׂנֵ֤אתִי׀ כָּל־אֹ֬רַח שָֽׁקֶר׃

It doesn't carry over, of course, the "M" sound, when translated beyond Hebrew.

Psalm 119:97-104

Quomodo dilexi!

97 Oh, how I love your law! *
all the day long it is in my mind.
98 Your commandment has made me wiser than my enemies, *
and it is always with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, *
for your decrees are my study.
100 I am wiser than the elders, *
because I observe your commandments.
101 I restrain my feet from every evil way, *
that I may keep your word.
102 I do not shrink from your judgments, *
because you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste! *
they are sweeter than honey to my mouth.
104 Through your commandments I gain understanding; *
therefore I hate every lying way.

The psalmist's work is his own, his poem. Just so, it's my blog and my blogpost: it doesn't have to make sense to anyone, not even to myself while I wait for the nobler men.


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