Why I write

Cross posted from here.

I have these verses from Psalm 137 ringing in my head:

By the rivers of Babylon—
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows* there
we hung up our harps.

3 For there our captors
asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’

4 How could we sing the Lord’s song
in a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand wither!
6 Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy.

“On the willows there we hung up our harps.”  That’s the dry land. In metaphor.  Context of today’s world.  The desert ~ if you truly care.  Where somehow the “heart” often seems to be missing.  If you are an exile as I feel I am.  (I’m speaking metaphorically.)

If you pay attention to what’s going on the world, and keep your ethical principles tuned up, it is a painful lot you have chosen.

You could join those singing the tune of whoever pays the piper. Or you can join the mourners.  Keeping your spirits up by remembering you’re not alone, that even the psalmist knew your sorrow.

I suddenly recall the words of Jesus:

31 ‘To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the market-place and calling to one another,
“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not weep.”

These passages I’ve quoted belong together.  And they express things I’ve been feeling.  They cry out for mourning in a way.  They call us to our principles, despite knowing that our principles may lead to mourning in the short run.  They speak to the fact that society urges us to conform – but conforming often means giving up one’s principles, selling out.  Go with the flow... even if it means changing your tune every 5 minutes.

Maybe that’s why I’ve somewhat abandoned the political commentary for this spiritual path.  It seems the only one left to me at the moment.  The only one from which I can draw comfort in a sense.  Where mourning is honesty.  Where the path of so many prophets leads.

This is what Prayer of the Heart really means.  For the psalmist it is the recollection of Jerusalem, a metaphor for clinging to one’s deepest heart, one’s dearest concerns, longings, commitments.   Now I’m thinking of Paul writing in the letter to the Philippians, especially verse 8 below:

4 Rejoice* in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.* 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, beloved,* whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about* these things. 9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Prayer of the Heart:  From the furnace of a loving heart, praying (and working) for the transformation of the cosmos “to the last speck of dust.”

In the face of everything to the contrary!

Thanks to Alan, here’s this wonderful video of the first verse of  Psalm 137:

6 thoughts on “Why I write

  1. Oh how can we sing our song in a foreign land!!! ha

    I love this.

    Homer and Virgil begin their treatises: I sing…

    The early Bible passages were meant to be sung, of course.

    We love the discs and the cd’s. Used to be the LP’s on plastic.

    But to be there in the amphitheater.

    Here we read and imagine. But we catch the song through the magic of the speed of light.

    This is a great song, TheraP.

    And, of course, I have always loved your songs. ha

    1. The music reminds me of songs out of Africa. Which is likely the inheritance of this music. I played it over and over after Alan provided the link.

      And yes… how wonderful to connect this to the singers of Epic Poetry.

      We can only imagine how the psalms came to be. Nomadic people sitting under the stars. Singing. Gives me shivers just thinking about it.

      Thanks for your wonderful comment, DD! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Lis. Sometimes posts almost write themselves. Sometimes it amazes me how my mind has access to info that “just fits”. And thanks to google, I can locate it when needed… 😉

  2. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    8 Finally, beloved,* whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about* these things.

    These are 2 of my favorite verses, Thera…not memorized, but I can pull enough up enough of each at any time to be of comfort to me.

    My struggle continues, but I’m making progress.

    1. Each of us, dear Stilli, needs different things – at different times. I send you peace and love.

      There are so many beautiful passages that I find moving. I don’t have them memorized either. They just “swim up” to my consciousness. And I look them up… the web is great that way. We can never keep all that wisdom in mind. So it’s good to be reminded of these things.

      I’m working productively in spite of a terrible cold this week.

      May you gain wisdom as you make your progress…

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