Thursday, July 27, 2006

Verse of the Day

"I lift up my eyes to the hills
from where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV)

This has long been one of my absolute favorite psalms. Partly I think this comes from growing up in Kentucky where there are hills to lift my eyes to. I think it is also because of the image of the fullness of the Lord's protection. This psalm is the second of the Psalms of Ascent that the people would sing as they went up to Jerusalem for the various festivals. The opening verses could be interpreted as the pilgrim looking ahead to the hills leading up to Jerusalem and anticipating coming into the presence of the Lord at the temple. A more likely interpretation is that they are looking at the hills and mountains around them, hills on top of which are "high places" where pagan gods are worshiped and rejecting them for the worship of Israel's God. I've heard a number of settings of this psalm over the years. We sang one antiphonally as a response to readings my senior year in the Cantorei. On his album "The Way of Wisdom", Michael Card has a setting of the first four verses in Hebrew and English. Eden's Bridge has a nice one on their "Celtic Psalms" album. My favorite version though is by the Chicago Christian Celtic/Folk group The Crossing on their album "Dochas". The song is simply named "Psalm" and is inspired by Psalm 121.

I lift up my eyes and I look to the mountains
And see by their shadow I'm nothing at all.
The hills tower over me black and forbidding;
The tangles of forest bid me come and fall.

No light may enter those caves, a great fortress,
Their darkness defended by cavern and wall.
A torrent, a flood, crashes over the rocks and
The thundering falls drown a voice still and small.

Listen my child for I made these great mountains,
The sky far above you, the rocks and the falls,
The tangles of forest, the caves and the crags
And whatever dwells in them; my hand formed them all.

The shadows are emptied of threat for I'm in them
As I am in you when you follow my call.
So lift up your eyes and look over the mountains
And walk in my shadow; I'll not let you fall.

Listen my child for I made these great mountains,
The sky far above you, the rocks and the falls,
The tangles of forest, the caves and the crags
And whatever dwells in them; my hand formed them all.
--words and music by Jennifer Ingerson and Duncan Johnstone

When I was a security guard I used to sing that on rounds at Hewitt on overnight shifts. I'm a little scared of the dark and I found it very comforting.

24 comments:

Becca said...

Blogger has been acting up this morning and not sticking to its stylesheet like a good little website.

For some reason, when I read this verse I think of the Beatles song, "The Fool on the Hill." Paul was inspired (reportedly) by an incident in Nice while walking his dog--he saw a man on a far hill, alone, and when he alerted his friend, the man disappeared.

Anyway, the song fascinates me because I can never decide if it's one of Paul's profound attempts at songwriting, or one of his typically silly ones.

The townspeople are aware of the fool but pass by him in daily life. The chorus states, "But the Fool on the hill/Sees the sun going down/And the eyes in his head/See the world spinning around."

I've always thought that the fool might be more of a literary fool--a homeless person that people ignore, assuming he has no real value despite that fact that he is human like all of us; a mentally handicapped person who doesn't speak much but sees the world in an extremely profound, yet simple way as time passes and places change.

Perhaps Paul's mysterious stranger is meant to represent a higher power? It's just something about the eyes and the hill(s)that catches me.

Tooz said...

Gee--I didn't know you were scared of the dark. Well, actually, I did--I remember when you needed to go to the bathroom one night at "our old house" which had long, dark hallways. We were too lazy to take you, so we asked Lydia if she would, and she did. Very interesting, as she was still in diapers at the time, but she was willing to walk her brother to the bathroom--and even more interesting that you were willing to go with her! Love you.

Somebody said...

Aww!

Is the super-tiny print a do-it-yourself eye exam? If so, I need new glasses!

Tara said...

I like the verse about I look to the hills. It seems so picturesque, even from someone who has spent 30 of her last 30 years in the flat flat midwest!

Everett said...

That's an interesting connection, Becky. I don't listen to the Beatles much and don't recall ever hearing the song.

Everett said...

The idea was that I'd set the font size to small for the word LORD in the verse for the last letters the same way most English translations do and then change the size back to normal for the rest of the post. Obviously that didn't work. The size difference is not very obvious when you're writing the post, certainly nothing like the difference you see on the blog. It should be fixed now. I passed the test anyway.

Everett said...

Tara, I like the hills around Rochester and much of southeastern Minnesota. They're not very dramatic except for maybe Sogn Valley and the Mississippi River Bluffs but I like them.

(vxtawzoc)

Becca said...

I didn't listen to much of the Beatles till meeting Tom. He remembers seeing them on Ed Sullivan for the first time with the rest of the country. He also got me hooked on the Grateful Dead.

Believe it or not, the Dead do have some interesting biblical/spiritual references in their work, and now that I'm trying to think of one, nothing's coming.

Jenn Hacker said...

I've always loved the Beatles. I do remember this song, but only the chorus. I have vague memories of my mom dancing with me to the Beatles when I was still potty-training (I've always been a music and dance junkie, it seems).

Becca, I'm not much of a Dead fan, although there are several songs of their's I like. I just don't have a lot of their stuff in my personal music library. Actually, come to think of it, I don't have much of anything in my personal music library - seems my CDs and DVDs/Videos are the first casualties to the Yard Sale Diety when money is tight and/or I'm in the process of moving. But there are a few items I refuse to part with! Labyrinth (I even have the soundtrack somewhere) is one I would NOT sell. Of course, I didn't sell any of Jamie's movies, books or CDs.

Becca said...

I lost a lot of my CDs when I first moved out here by selling them for cash until I could get established. It was a tough few months. I still owe someone money, and have offered to repay, but he wouldn't let me. I might have to send the money anyway just to make my self feel better--I don't like having any regrets, especially around debts (real or perceived).

Hmm. I wonder how I could get this person to see that I want to pay him back?

Anyway, we're pretty big into the Beatles. We play their music for CJ, and his room is decorated with drawings that John did for Sean when he was born--parent and child animal and music notes drawn in the background. We even have a poster of the cover for Abbey Road up in there, and over the door, a plaque that says, "IMAGINE".

I want to find a poster with the Dead Dancing Bears to put up in there, but that might be a little much. We did put a stereo in his room this weekend so he can listen all the time. It seems to have helped settling him down for bed a bit.

How interesting that Everett's verse has led to a music discussion. Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack.

Jenn Hacker said...

Why is it you very rarely comment on anyone else's blogs? You used to. Have you run out of time, or interest? Just curious too see if you're still keeping tabs on all the blogs. And are we going to get a recipe from you on ROUS-es?

Tara said...

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing! What would Everett post on the ROUS blog???

annalu alulu said...

he told me i stole his one recipe (tuna casserole), but i know there are a couple more he knows how to make... we even talked about one adn I thought he was going to post it, but he hasn't yet...nag nag....i think it would be a real hit

i love my brother no matter how little he posts on blogs. (i know everybody knows that, and you all probably feel the same way, but my heart just wanted to say it, so i let it)

Becca said...

Not me. My love is directly proportionally commensurable to the number of blog posts one makes.

Always has been, and always will be.

Jenn Hacker said...

LOL, Becca!

It's because we love everybody that we want to hear from all of you!

Tooz said...

Bubbie, I guess you're back now--are you any the worse for your jet-skiing adventure? Love you.

Becca said...

I hope he didn't hurt his ankle (or if he did, that he has someone to push his wheelchair).

Everett said...

No worries about hijacked comments. They're there for whatever thoughts are raised by the posts to any degree of relevance.

Everett said...

I'm a lurker at heart. I like to read the blogs and keep up with what's going on with people. Also I tend to read the blogs right after I get in to my office and feel an internal pressure to get working. I'm arguably getting paid to read the FRBR blog or Catalogablog or maybe even JesusCreed.org but probably not family and friends. The same time pressure contributes to my spotty email responses. That said, it's also just easier to read and not comment, and I have a lazy streak.

Everett said...

Two reasons I haven't posted anything to the Recipe blog.
1. There is a lion in the streets!
2. I don't think of the things I cook as having recipes or being of much interest to anybody. Also I tend to spice things by instinct. The only measurement I have of how much cayenne pepper to use with tuna casserole is, "Shake out the pepper until it covers most of the surface of the glop of cream of celery soup." I don't know how helpful that would be for anybody else.

Anonymous said...

Hark! Bubba speaks!

Tara said...

Everett, Read the recipes I posted today. I didn't use exact measurements either, but hopefully they'll turn out for people! And if not, well, I tried! :) And I would follow directions like "shake out the pepper until it covers the glop of cream of celery soup" except that nobody in my house would eat anything with that much pepper except me and maybe Toby (Teeny Beanie Baby here doesn't have much choice in the matter!)

annalu alulu said...

Teeny Beanie Baby! I love that name. Teeny Beanie Baby Kluth (tbbk).

Bubba, we just want you to post a recipe because we like you, not because we think we'll like what you post. But we might, and how will we know, unless you post it? And maybe we need recipes for what you don't think we'd need recipes for. I remember asking mom and daddy many many times, "How do you hard boil eggs?" until I finally had that recipe memorized (yes, that's embarassing to admit).

annalu alulu said...

Hey, I have a good idea. Maybe you could start each post with "Isn't trinity's library awesome?" or something, and then you'd be free to write whatever you wanted after that, and you'd still be working. I'm brilliant.