Thursday, March 23, 2017

Insight from Different Versions of Psalm 126

Last night, at my church we had another Lenten soup supper with Psalms and creative responses.  I chose Psalm 126:

I started with the NRSV:

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,[a]
    we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
    like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
    reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    carrying their sheaves.

We read from the Contemporary English version (once I had a denim-clad Bible in this version):

It seemed like a dream
when the Lord brought us back
    to the city of Zion.[a]
We celebrated with laughter
    and joyful songs.
In foreign nations it was said,
    “The Lord has worked miracles
    for his people.”
And so we celebrated
    because the Lord had indeed
    worked miracles for us.
Our Lord, we ask you to bless
    our people again,
    and let us be like streams
    in the Southern Desert.
We cried as we went out
    to plant our seeds.
    Now let us celebrate
    as we bring in the crops.
We cried on the way
    to plant our seeds,
    but we will celebrate and shout
    as we bring in the crops.


Here it is in The Message:

It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
    when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
    we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
    God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
    we are one happy people.
4-6 And now, God, do it again—
    bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
    will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
    will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
We read each one, but The Message was the one we returned to again and again.  I was fascinated, as you knew I would be, at how the basic themes were the same, but the language so different.
I loved the idea of armloads of blessings:
My spouse thought about rain and the colors of joy:
Here's another picture:
Alas, I don't have pictures yet of the gardens created by others, gardens of yarn and pumpkins made of buttons.
I am loving this approach to the text, reading multiple times and letting the words sink in.  The different translations tonight added a richness.  I am hoping for rain in our drought-stricken places--I hope that for all of us.

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