Psalm 66 in Three Different Keys

Sometimes the Bible leaves me cold.  Sometimes even scripture I love turns me off.  Sometimes I don’t like the God I meet there.  So it was for me this week.  I started reading the part of Psalm 66 assigned for next Sunday.  I got to verse 9 and began to twitch.  “You tried us like silver.”  Is this the God I know–God who tests and tries her children?  

But I read on–on to verse 10:  “You brought us into the snare.  You laid heavy burdens on us.”  Really–the suffering God?  the loving God?  the God who comes to the disciples through doors closed from grief and despair?  

And yet this God who lays burdens on his children is a God I hear about from others.  “God does everything for a reason.”  “God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle.”  “God wanted my baby close to him and so God brought my baby home.”  That’s not the God I know.  That’s not the God of love.  

But that’s the God one meets in parts of psalm 66–at least the version of that psalm that appears in the Book of Common Prayer.

Yesterday, I got annoyed.  I went looking for other versions of that psalm.  You’ll find them in the text that follows this mini-rant.  They helped me get beyond the stumbling block, and they raised for me important questions about the voices I hear in scripture and the voices that are silenced.

Psalm 66: 7-18 The Book of Common Prayer

7

Bless our God, you peoples; *

make the voice of his praise to be heard;

8

Who holds our souls in life, *

and will not allow our feet to slip.

9

For you, O God, have proved us; *

you have tried us just as silver is tried.

10

You brought us into the snare; *

you laid heavy burdens upon our backs.

11

You let enemies ride over our heads;

we went through fire and water; *

but you brought us out into a place of refreshment.

12

I will enter your house with burnt-offerings

and will pay you my vows, *

which I promised with my lips

and spoke with my mouth when I was in trouble.

12

I will offer you sacrifices of fat beasts

with the smoke of rams; *

I will give you oxen and goats.

14

Come and listen, all you who fear God, *

and I will tell you what he has done for me.

15

I called out to him with my mouth, *

and his praise was on my tongue.

16

If I had found evil in my heart, *

the Lord would not have heard me;

17

But in truth God has heard me; *

he has attended to the voice of my prayer.

18

Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer, *

nor withheld his love from me.

PSALM 66: 7-13 FROM REJOICE, BELOVED WOMAN!

         Rendered by Barbara J. Monda

7

All creation, Bless our Mother, Chokmah. She keeps us

Alive in her embrace.

8

You have tested, refined, and transformed us. Like silver, we

Are purified.

9

You have given us suffering, trapped us in our own prisons,

And set burdensome guides over us. These are all ways of

Teaching us.

10

We passed through torrents and flames and received

Insight. Freedom is your gift.

11

I will keep the promises I made while being tested. I will

Return gifts to you.

12

You have held me, and saved me, Chokmah. I will use my

Mouth and my body to praise you.

13

Praise to the God who listened to my pleadings and did not

Reject me. Praise to the God who is constant in her love.

 

 

PSALM 66: 7-18 FROM PSALMS FOR PRAYING: AN INVITATION TO WHOLENESS rendered by Nan C. Merrill

 

Bless the Beloved, Heart of our hearts,

let the sound of our praises

be heard.

You keep us attuned to life and

guide our feet on solid ground.

For You, O Love, have tested us;

You have tried us as silver is

 

You have allowed us to fall into

The net;

You have watched us reap all that

we have sown’

we went through fire and

through water,

Yet You have brought us through our

pain and

into your dwelling place.

I enter your Heart surrendered

to Love;

I commend my soul into your

keeping;

all that my lips uttered, all that

my mouth promised when

I was in trouble and pain,

I offer up to You;

I abandon myself into your hands.

 

Come and hear, all you who reverence

the Most High,

and I shall tell what the Beloved

has done for me.

I cried aloud to the Silent Watcher

of my life;

from my tongue came forth words

of praise.

Had I cherished greed and power,

I would have separated myself

from Love;

the voice of my prayer was heard.

 

Blessed be the holy Name of the Beloved,

Loving Companion Presence,

who embraced me, and renewed

my life.

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