Friday, February 23, 2007

Lent Day 3: My God, my God

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why so far from my delivery
So empty in the anguish of my words?
I call to you in the daytime but you don't answer
And all night long I plead restlessly,uselessly

I know your holiness, find it in the memorized praises
Uttered by those who've struggled with you
Through all the generations
These, my forbears, trusted you
And through their trusting you touched them
Held and delivered them
They cried out to you and you met them face to face
Their confidence was strong and they were not confounded

But I am not as they
Utterly alone, I am cast out of the circle
A worm, a living reproach, scorned and despised, even less than despised
Unheard, unseen, unacknowledged, denied
And all who encounter me revile me with cynic laughter
Shaking their heads, parting their nattering lips, mocking
"Let him throw himself at God for his deliverance," they say
"Since that is who he trusts let the Lord save him."

And they are right:
How not trust you, and what else to trust?

You I entered leaving the womb
You I drank at my mother's breast
I was cast upon you at birth
And even before birth I swam in you, my heart's darkness

Be not far from me now
When suffering is very near
And there is no help
And I am beset all round by threatening powers
The bulls of Bashan gaping their dismal braying mouths
Their ravenous roaring lion mouths

I am poured out like water
My bones' joints are snapped like twigs
My heart melts like wax
Flooding my bowels with searing viscid emotion
My strength is dried up like a potsherd
My tongue cleaves woolly to the roof of my mouth
And I feel my body dissolving into death's dusts

For I am hounded by my isolation
Am cast off and even encircled by the assembly of the violent
Who like vicious dogs snap at my hands and feet
I count the bones of my naked body
As the mongrels shift and stare and circle
They divide my clothes among themselves, casting lots for them

So now in this very place I call on you
There is no one left

Do not be far from me
Be the center
Of the center
Of the circle
Be the strength of that center
The power of the absence that is the center
Deliver my life from the killing sharpnesses
Deliver my soul from the feverish dogs
Save me from the lion mouths
Answer me with the voice of the ram's horn

And I will seek and form and repeat your name among my kinsmen
In the midst of everyone I will compost praises with my lips
And those who enter your awesomeness through my words will also praise
All the seed of Jacod will glorify you
And live in awe of you
All those who question and struggle
Will dawn with your light
For they will know
You have not scorned the poor and despised
Nor recoiled disgusted from their faces
Frin them your spark has never been hidden
And when they cried out in their misery
You heard and answered and ennobled them
And it is the astonishment of this that I will praise in the Great Assembly
Making deep vows in the presence of those who know your heart
Know that in you the meek eat and are satisfied
And all who seek and struggle find the tongue to praise
Saying to you:

May your heart live forever
May all the ends of the earth remember and return to you
And all the families of all the nations bow before you
For all that is your domain
Your flame kindles all that lives and breathes
And you are the motive force of all eternity
The yearing of the grasses, the lovers' ardor
And they that rise up, live, and eat the fat of the earth will bow before you
Before you will bow all those who lie down, find peace, and enter the dust
For none can keep alive by his own power--you alone light the soul
Distant ages to come shall serve you, shall be related to you in future times
Those people not yet born
Will sing of your uprightness, your evennness, your brightness
To a people not yet born that is still yet to come
That this is how you are

~ Psalm 22 from Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms by Norman Fischer


It is too easy to be trite in the face of the towering beauty of these words. Just this: this is for all my brothers and sisters who suffer this week in the face of grave injustice.


Catherine + said...

Mags, I just received my copy of Norman Fischer's Zen Psalms and wow...they are beautiful written. Yes, we are sorely in need of the meanings expressed in this psalm. and the picture is so appropriate, our eyes and hands raised in supplication to God...thank you for this...

Magdalene6127 said...

Catherine, aren't they wonderful? I am really delighted with this book; I am really being enriched by it.