Responsa to Psalms 113-118

Music: Fugue in A Major.
By Dimitri Shostakovich. Sequenced by J. Marques.

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Copyright by
Nicholas Gordon

Responsum to Psalm 113

Those who do not praise the Lord:
Whom do they praise?

For to praise the fruit is to praise the vine,
And to praise the river is to praise the spring,
And to praise the word is to praise the mind.

Those who do not praise the Lord are like those who do not approach for fear of an embrace;
While those who praise the Lord walk directly across the room to embrace their beloved!

Responsum to Psalm 114

The Earth is a poem, and its poet, the Lord.

Read, then, its mountains, and recite the verses of its seas;
Let its rivers run through your thoughts, and its winds through your words.

For the Lord has given you this land not for bread alone,
Nor its creatures alone for meat,
Nor its waters alone to quench your thirst;

But all is an image of the Lord's grace,
And a window to His glory.

Responsum to Psalm 115

All are idols but the Lord:

You are an idol, and I am an idol;
Our children are idols, as are our parents;
Those we love are idols, and those we hate;
And all we despise, and all we desire.

All are idols when we worship them,
And all equally gifts when we worship the Lord.

Responsum to Psalm 116

Those who praise the Lord cannot long be laid low,
Nor those who bless the Lord be long the slaves of sorrow:

For the Lord is like music that comforts the sick;
And like the sun, which dispels the night;
And like a word that uplifts the heart.

The Lord answers all: those who cry out to Him and those who do not;
But only those who cry out to Him can hear Him.

Responsum to Psalm 117

The Lord is the Lord of all nations, and the seat of all power.

He has many faces, but no face;
And many names, but no name;
And many ways, but no way.

Like blind men groping an elephant, each knows the Lord differently;
Yet He Himself is unknowable but by blind touch.

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