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Book 3
Psalms of the New Testament
60 - 89

60

 

Oh Beloved, preserve us from thoughts of anger,

vengeance, retribution and the casting off of people.

 

You have shaken the earth and split it open

you repair the cracks for it totters.

 

You have seen your people experience hardships

and given them wine that makes us stagger.

 

You send banners of clouds so we may know you;

and faith in love protects us from the power of the bow.

 

Guide our hands and answer us

so all may be delivered from harm.

 

If the Beloved would speak from a Holy Place

these are the words we might be able to hear.

 

Here are my mountains filled with snows in summer;

care for them that water may flow into your wells.

 

Here are my valleys green with new grass;

always leave some corner wild for my creatures.

 

Here are the plains for growing your grain;

replenish the earth when you have taken from it.

 

Here are my seas teeming with life as food;

take only what you need and protect the rest.

 

Here are my skies deep with the sun and stars;

they too needs your diligence in maintenance and care.

 

Do not think that cities will make you strong

or that inventions will save you from annihilation.

 

Strength does come in armies or weapons,

and vain is the help of mankind.

 

Only with compassion can we do valiant deeds

and only understanding assures us of survival.

 

61

 

Hear my cry, oh my Beloved,

and listen to my prayers.

 

I call upon you from the ends of the earth,

with this heaviness that is in my heart.

 

Set me up on a rock that is higher

than my vision of how to live this life.

 

In your compassion is my refuge

and stronghold against my weaknesses.

 

I wish to dwell in your house forever

and find quiet under your wings.

 

Oh Beloved please hear my vows

and grant me the heritage of love.

 

Add length to the day of our lives

let our generations extend over the years.

 

Let us sit enthroned with compassion

bid love and faithfulness watch over each.

 

So will I sing the praise of your Name,

and day by day I will fulfill my vows.

 

62

 

For the Beloved alone my soul in silence waits;

from living in compassion comes our salvation.

 

Let this thought be my rock and my salvation

my stronghold of faith that is never shaken.

 

How long must I fear being crushed

like a leaning fence or a toppling wall?

 

Why do I fear being brought down from a place of honor?

Why do I quake before those whose mouths are full of lies?

 

When they bless with their lips

why do I fear their hearts curse me?

 

For the Beloved alone my soul in silence waits;

in loving kindness must I find will to go on.

 

I put my trust in the goodness of compassion

and pour out my heart as to a refuge.

 

Thoughts of high degree are but as a fleeting breath;

thoughts of low estate are to be watched as they go.

 

On the scales they are all lighter than a breath

all of them together shall pass into nothingness.

 

Yet each thought has its baggage and effect;

no action is safe from the navigation of the mind.

 

Put no trust in extortion; take no pride in robbery

though your wealth increase; set your heart not on it.

 

Our deeds are weighted only in the sight of love

in our compassion for all life shall we be known.

 

Steadfast is the love of the Most High

in bounty and abundance is our lives set.

 

63

 

Oh my Beloved, you are my own good; eagerly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for your goodness

as in a barren and dry land where there is no water.

 

Therefore I have set you in the Most Holy place;

that I may behold your power and your glory.

 

For your loving kindness is better than life itself;

therefore my lips shall give you ceaseless praise.

 

So will I bless your name as long as I live

and lift up my hands in oblation to your Name.

 

My soul is content, as with marrow and fatness

and my mouth praises you with joyful lips.

 

When I remember you upon my bed

I will meditate on you in the night watches.

 

For you have been my helper

and in the shadow of your wings is joy.

 

My soul wishes to cling to you;

may your right hand hold me fast.

 

May those thoughts that seek to destroy my life

turn from their ways of destruction and misery.

 

Transform my unworthiness into light

that beams both upward and outward.

 

64

 

Hear my voice, my Beloved, even when I complain;

protect me from my deep fears of an enemy.

 

Show me how to navigate the shoals

of the wise and the unwise possibilities.

 

Sharpen my tongue so that it speaks the truth

and aim my words with the honey of honesty.

 

Let me know when to be kind and when to nip

that we all may proceed with a togetherness.

 

When some will say: "Who will see us?

Who will find out our crimes; we have sought a perfect plot."

 

The human mind and heart are a mystery;

show me what to say; what I should do.

 

Do not let me trip upon my tongue

or cause others to shake their heads.

 

Let them see only the glory of the Beloved;

recognize the deeds and works of love.

 

The righteous will rejoice in love and put their trust

in the glory of the true in heart will shine above all.

 

65

 

You are to be praised, Oh Beloved, in all the lands;

to you shall be the vows in the temple of everything.

 

To you that hears prayers shall all flesh come

because their hearts are full of wonder

 

Our unknowing is stronger than we are

but you are the answer to every question.

 

Happy are they who are chosen

to draw to your courts to dwell there.

 

They will be satisfied by the beauty of your house

and by the holiness of your temple.

 

Awesome things are shown in righteousness

O Hope of all the ends of the earth

and of the seas that touch each shore.

 

You make fast the mountains by your power

they are girded about with your might.

 

You still the roaring of the seas

as the sound of their waves is the clamor of peoples.

 

Those who dwell at the ends of the earth

will tremble at your marvelous signs;

You make the dawn and the dusk to sing for you.

 

You visit the earth and water it abundantly;

you make it very plenteous

the river of life is full of water.

 

You prepare the grain

as you provide for the earth.

 

You drench the furrows and smooth the ridges

with heavy rain you soften the ground and bless its increase.

 

You crown the year with your goodness

and your paths overflow with plenty.

 

May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing

and the hills be clothed with joy.

 

May the meadows cover themselves with flocks,

and the valley cloak themselves with grain

let them shout for joy and sing.

 

66

 

Be joyful in the Divine, all you lands.

Sing the glory of thanksgiving;

sing the glory of praise.

 

Say to the Divine, "How awesome are your deeds!"

because of your greatness we all bow before you.

 

All the earth bows down before you

sings to you, sings out your name.

 

Come now to see the works of the Divine;

wonderful are the works before the peoples.

 

The sea was turned into dry land

so we walked through the water

and rejoiced in deliverance.

 

The Divine rules forever in such might

let no rebel rise up against this goodness.

 

Bless the Beloved of the peoples

make a voice of praise be heard.

 

Who holds our souls in life

and will not allow our feet slip?

 

For is it not the Same who tries us

as silver is tested with fire?

 

It is not this Beloved that brings us into the snare

or lays heavy burdens on our backs?

 

Or lets the enemies ride over our heads

putting us through fire and water?

 

In a place of refreshment

I enter your house with offerings.

 

I will pay you with my vows I promised

with my lips when I was in trouble.

 

I will not offer you sacrifices of fat beasts

or the smoke of oxen - only my contrite heart.

 

Come and listen all you love the Divine

and I will tell you of the wonders.

 

I called out with my mouth

and praise was on my tongue.

 

If there was evil in my heart;

the Divine would not have heard me.

 

But in truth I have been heard,

and attention given to my prayer.

 

Blessed be the Divine who does not reject

my prayer or withholds love and life from me.

 

67

 

May mercy, beauty and blessings surround us,

and the light of abundance shine down upon us.

 

Let your ways be known upon the earth,

your saving health among all nations.

 

Let the people praise that which is good;

let all the people praise with thanksgiving.

 

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,

let judging and justice be done with equity

and all nations guided by the highest good.

 

Let the people praise you, oh Beloved;

let all the peoples praise you with thanksgiving.

 

The earth has brought forth its increase,

as if preparing a blessing for each one.

 

May the Beloved give us these blessings

as the ends of the earth stand in awe.

 

68

 

May we see the Beloved in every act of loving;

let those who can love be examples to others.

 

Let hate vanish like smoke when the wind blows;

as the wax melts before the fire, let the anger go.

 

Let the righteous be glad and rejoice;

let them also be merry and joyful with song.

 

Sing to everything giving praises to its name;

exalt all that comes under the heavens.

 

Let your deeds reflect the love you have

as you take in the orphan; defend the widow.

 

Give the solitary a home and deliver prisoners into freedom;

only the rebels against love and discipline live in dry places.

 

When the Divine was before the people;

there was a spirit of creation in the wilderness.

 

The earth shook and the skies poured down rain

already then in the presence of the Divine.

 

A gracious rain was sent upon as inheritance;

the land was refreshed when it was weary.

 

The people found a home in your goodness;

provision was made even for the poor.

 

The Beloved gave the sacred word and

the women bore the tidings of children.

 

"When kings march out with their armies;

they are robbing the women of their glory.

 

Even if they linger among the sheepfolds,

like doves with wings covered with silver

or feathers tinged with the sheen of green gold.

 

When the kings are scattered on battlefields;

all the people are children like snow falling.

 

Oh mighty mountains, oh hills of rising up;

oh rugged mountains, oh hills of rising up.

 

Why do you look with envy, oh rugged mountain;

at the hills from whence cometh the good?

 

Gods have no chariots or horses snorting hot breath;

all holiness comes from the holiness above the mountain.

 

When you have gone up on high and led captivity captive;

you will have received gifts even from your enemies.

 

When you have gone the great distance within;

you will receive the gifts of that only you can give.

 

By the design of the Divine are we given children;

by the wisdom of this gift do we escape death.

 

For the sake of the children put away the ideas

of war and the thirst for the blood of others.

 

They too had a mother, each was once a child

with a desire to live out the fullness of the earth.

 

By what right do you strangle another;

or dip their feet in blood of those you slay?

 

Rather let all see you making processions

to the sanctuary where prayers rise with incense.

 

Let the singers go before, musicians follow after

in the midst of maidens playing upon hand-drums.

 

Bless those of the congregation who are the fountains

and bless those who receive the waters of life.

 

Let no one be at the head of the peoples

but rule with the wisdom of the many.

 

Put your strength in the listening of the wise

and the skills of seeing the innermost motives.

 

Establish good without adding harm to anything;

pile up good deeds with the fervor of acquiring.

 

Make gifts to the needy and not to kings

who have already been given the positions.

 

Banish those who lust after silver;

scatter the peoples who delight in war.

 

Let those who have give to those who have not;

to those who stretch out their hands with asking.

 

Sing of the Divine and the goodness of earth

sing praises and thanksgiving for the many gifts.

 

The sun that rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens

comes forth like a voice, a mighty voice that gives life.

 

Ascribe power to the Creator; that majesty is over all;

whose strength comes from the skies and depths of earth.

 

How wonderfully our world has been made!

How finely made is the tiniest thing for our pleasure.

 

How wonderful is the Divine in holy places

giving strength and power to the people so blessed.

 

69

Save me, my Beloved, for the waters

have risen up to the curve of my neck.

 

I am sinking in deep mire,

and no firm ground is under my feet.

 

I have gotten into deep waters,

and the torrent washes over me.

 

I have grown weary with my crying;

my throat is afire with my calling out,

and my eyes fail from searching for God.

 

My fears are more than the hairs of my head;

must I give back when I never stole?

 

The Beloved knows my foolishness

and from none are my faults hidden.

 

Let not those have hope in compassion

be put to shame because of my acts.

 

Let not those who seek to live in love

be disgraced because of my failures.

 

Surely there are times I deserve reproach

and shame has covered my face.

 

I have become a stranger to my own family

and an alien to my mother's children.

 

Zeal for being good has eaten me up

and the scorn of others has fallen on me.

 

I tried humbling myself with fasting

but that also has become a reproach.

 

I have put on the sack cloth of humility

and only become an object of ridicule.

 

Those who sit at the gates murmur against me

and the drunkards made songs about me.

 

But as for me, this is only my prayer to God

I am lead by my desire to know the Beloved.

 

 

"In your great mercy oh Beloved, I cry out

oh answer me with your unfailing help.

 

Save me from the mire; do not let me sink

let me be rescued from my hatreds and

let me out of those deep waters.

 

Let no the torrent of waters wash over me;

neither let the deep swallow me up,

and do not let the pit shut its mouth upon me.

 

Answer me, my Beloved, for your love is kind;

in your great compassion, turn to me."

 

"Hide not your face from your servant;

be swift to answer me for I am in distress.

 

Draw near to me and redeem me;

because reproach will deliver me.

 

You know my failing, my shame, my dishonor;

my faults are clearly in your sight.

 

Reproach has broken my heart

and it cannot be healed;

 

I have looked for sympathy

but there is none.

 

For comforters,

I found no one.

 

I have been given gall to eat

and when thirsty they gave me vinegar.

 

Yet let not the laden tables be a trap

nor the sacred feasts a snare.

 

Let not our eyes be darkened

nor have trembling in our loins.

 

Do not pour out indignation on us

or let the fierceness of anger overtake.

 

Let us not persecute those who are stricken

or add one whit to the pain of the pierced.

 

Let guilt take away all guilt

with the thoughts of vindication.

 

Let us not be wiped out of the book of the living

but be written down among the name of the righteous.

 

As for me, I am afflicted and in pain

but with the help of the Divine I am lifted up.

 

I will praise the Name of the Beloved in song;

I will proclaim this greatness with thanksgiving.

 

This will please the Beloved more than an offering of oxen

more than the killing of bullocks with horns and hoofs.

 

The afflicted shall see and be glad;

those who seek love shall find compassion.

 

It is our ears that listen to the needy;

and we shall not despise the prisoner.

 

Let the heavens and earth praise the Divine;

the seas and all that moves within them.

 

For only compassion can save a nation and rebuild the cities

for those who live there and have it in their possession.

 

The children shall be our treasures of inheritance

as they learn to live with the guidance of love.

 

70

 

Save me, my Beloved, from myself

make hast to help me, my Beloved.

 

Let me not be ashamed of my life

or dismayed with the errors of my ways.

 

Let me not take pleasure in misfortune,

or speak long of my disadvantages.

 

Let me not dwell on the hurts

given me by others in their weaknesses.

 

Let me seek love, rejoice and be glad;

for in compassion is the salvation of all.

 

When I seem poor and needy;

come to me speedily my Beloved.

 

Be my helper and my deliverer;

Oh Beloved do not tarry.

 

71

 

In the precepts of compassion I take refuge;

oh let me never ashamed of my actions.

 

In righteousness set my thoughts free;

incline your ear to me and save me.

 

Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe,

love is my crag and my stronghold in dark times.

 

Deliver me from the hands of the wicked,

and from the clutches of the oppressor.

 

For I have been given the gifts of love;

my confidence was since I was young.

 

I have been sustained since I was born

from my mother's womb I have been cared for

and praise shall always be in my mouth.

 

Even when I scare others,

love has been my guide.

 

Let my mouth be full of praise;

may I shine with your glory.

 

Do not cast me off in my old age

or forsake me when my strength fails.

 

When my limbs no longer carry on

let my days be filled with quiet glory.

 

For the younger ones who labor for my bread

let me pay them with the prayers of my mouth.

 

Let me be cared for with grace and compassion

I shall always wait in patience with praise.

 

My mouth shall recount these kindly acts

and saving deeds all the day long

though I cannot know the number of them.

 

I will begin with the might works of the Creator

and recall the ways of righteousness and beauty.

 

In these paths I have been taught since I was young

and to this day I will tell of the wonderful works.

 

And now that I am old and gray-headed

do not forsake me as being useless

until I have made know to this generation

the power of compassion of beauty.

 

Righteousness reaches to the heavens;

such great things have been done on earth.

 

In spite of troubles and adversities

I have had my life restored

and have been brought up from deep places.

 

You strengthen me more and more

you enfold and comfort me each day.

 

Therefore I sing praises on the lyre for faithfulness

I will sing of holiness upon the harp of my ribs.

 

My lips will sing with joy when I play before you

and so will my soul which you have redeemed.

 

My tongue will declare righteousness all day long

for none shall be ashamed, or disgraced with harm.

 

72

 

For the persons in government we pray;

that they may rule with righteousness.

 

That justice and compassion may combine,

when considering the problems of the poor.

 

That the deep pockets may bring prosperity;

and the shallow pockets bring righteousness.

 

Defense shall be given to the needy,

and relief to those crushed by oppression.

 

Compassion shall endure as the sun and moon;

and from one generation to another.

 

Blessings shall rain down as on a mown field

like welcomed showers that water the earth.

 

Under the reign of those in government

shall the righteous flourish in all seasons.

 

There shall be an abundance of peace

until the moon shall be no more.

 

May they rule in love from sea to sea

from the rivers of heaven to the ends of earth.

 

May even the foes recognize compassion

and the enemies come to accept righteousness.

 

Those who rule shall know they are no higher

than the most lowly over which they stand.

 

When associating with kings and presidents

see the crowds who stand behind them.

 

They shall have pity on the poor who cry out in distress

and for the oppressed who have been robbed of their rights.

 

They shall redeem their lives from the threat of violence

and their blood shall be dear in their sight as if their children.

 

May we give prayers for those make our laws

and bless their work in guiding our society.

 

May there be abundant grain on the earth

growing thick even on the hilltops.

 

May the fruit flourish on every table

and the grains be as plentiful as grass.

 

May those who labor be blessed

and in their giving receive more blessings.

 

May the names of workers be raised up

established as long as the sun endures.

 

In the work of our hands

may blessings occur.

 

Blessed is the Creator who shows such bounty

gives gifts to each without judgment.

 

73

 

Truly the Creator has been good to us;

surely we have been blessed with life.

 

But my feet has nearly slipped;

I had almost tripped and fallen.

 

Because I envied the proud,

and wanted the prosperity of the wicked.

 

For they seem to suffer no pain;

and their bodies are sleek and sound.

 

In the misfortunes of others they do not share

and they are not afflicted with flaws as others are.

 

Therefore they wear their pride like a necklace

and wrap their violence about them like a cloak.

 

Their iniquity comes from gross minds,

and their hearts delight in wicked thoughts.

 

They scoff and speak maliciously;

out of their haughtiness they plan oppression.

 

They set their mouths against the heavens,

and their evil speech runs through the world.

 

And yet the people turn to them

and find in them no fault.

 

They live as if there is no reckoning for evil

as if they do not even know of their foul deeds.

 

So then, these are the wicked

always at ease as they increase in wealth.

 

It seems in vain that I keep my heart clean

for naught that my hands are innocent.

 

How can I count my life an affliction

and see each morning as a punishment?

 

Had I gone on speaking in this way

I would have betrayed generations of children.

 

When I tried to understand these things

it was too hard for me to look at myself.

 

But when I entered the sanctuary of the Beloved

I could discern the end of the wicked.

 

Surely they have already set themselves in slippery places

on their way down into the mire of ruin.

 

How suddenly do they come to destruction

and how easily do they perish from terror.

 

Like a dream when one awakens,

when you rise their images vanish.

 

When my mind became embittered;

I was sorely wounded in my heart.

 

I was stupid like one with no understanding;

I was like a brute in the presence of people.

 

Yet I wish to always be with compassion

to have loving kindness in my right hand.

 

The example of the Beloved will guide me

and I will be blessed with counsel.

 

Whom have I in this world but life?

there is nothing on earth I desire.

 

Though my flesh and my heart should waste away

the strength of living shall be my portion forever.

 

Truly those who forsake compassion will perish

and all the unfaithful will be destroyed.

 

But for me, I shall value life and living

and all that sustains the growing of others.

 

I will speak of the works of majesty

before the gates of every city.

 

74

 

Why do we feel that God as cast us off?

why is such wrath against the sheep of the pasture?

 

Why is this congregation that was redeemed,

now be denied its inheritance of plenty?

 

At every step we now find endless ruin;

the enemy has laid waste to everything.

 

Strangers charged into our most holy places;

they set up their banners as if in victory.

 

They were like men coming with axes to a grove of trees;

they have broken down our places with hatchets and hammers.

 

They have set fire to sanctuaries

and defiled the fields for growing.

 

They have said, "Let us destroy them!"

and burned down the meeting places.

 

There were no signs left for us to see;

there is no prophet left who knows how long,

 

How long, Oh Beloved, will the adversary scoff?

and will the enemy blaspheme all we held good?

 

Why do you draw back your hand?

why is your right hand hidden in your bosom?

 

Where is the compassion of ancient times

to overcome the smallness of this age?

 

Creator, you divided the sea by your might

and shattered the heads of dragons in waters.

 

You crushed the heads of great animals

and gave them to the people for food.

 

You split open spring and torrent;

you dry up ever-flowing rivers.

 

Yours is the day, yours also the night;

you established the moon and the sun.

 

You fixed the boundaries of the shores;

you made both summer and winter.

 

In this bounty let me forget how the enemy scoffed

and how foolish people spoke out my name.

 

Let me not be oppressed by memories

or find violence in the dark places of earth.

 

Arise, to maintain the cause of compassion

remember only fools rail and revile all day long.

 

Forget the clamor of thoughts of adversaries

and the fears that some rise up against you.

 

75

 

We give thanks to the Divine, calling upon that name

declaring thanks for all the wondrous deeds.

 

Nothing is judged because for the Divine;

all things in time are equal.

 

Though the earth and its inhabitants quake;

the pillars of the earth are made fast.

 

Boasters are told not to boast any more,

and the wicked should not toss their horns.

 

Do not toss your horns high

or speak with a proud neck.

 

For judgment comes from neither the east or west;

nor from the wilderness nor the mountains.

 

It is not the Divine who judges,

who puts down one and lifts up another.

 

In the Divine Presence's hand is a cup

full of spiced wine which is poured out

and even the wicked shall drink thereof.

 

I will rejoice forever as

I sing the praises of the Divine.

 

76

 

In every land is the Creator known;

this name is great in every place.

 

At the seashore is an altar

where every grain of sand is a soul fire.

 

In the mountains is a tabernacle

the holy of holies as seeds for life.

 

How glorious is the tiniest speck of life

more splendid than the everlasting mountains.

 

And where does this germ of the future lie?

within our loins that burn with desire.

 

How glorious the urge of lust and passion

when teamed with reason and love?

 

What shape is the discipline that says:

"Not now, but when the time is right."

 

A vessel that seems empty;

only so it can hold much.

 

Be not angry with your bodies needs;

give them love as you give love to others.

 

If the donkey that conveys you though life

is not fed with a kind hand, who will carry you?

 

Take no more than you need;

give no more than what you have.

 

All you can do is all you can do

until the spirit of love raises you up.

 

Make a vow to the Beloved;

make a vow with compassion

 

That all may bloom and grow;

expand and be fruitful in season.

 

77

 

Sometimes I think: I will cry aloud to God

I will cry aloud, to be heard by God.

 

In the day of my trouble I called out to God;

my hands were stretched out by night

 

And they did not tire during the day;

I refused to be comforted.

 

I thought of God and I was restless

I pondered and my spirit was faint.

 

I would not let my eyelids close;

I was troubled and could not speak.

 

I considered the days of old;

I remembered the years long past.

 

As I sought answers to my problems;

such thoughts came to my mind:

 

Has the Beloved cast me off forever?

will favor no longer be shown to me?

 

Has this loving kindness come to an end?

has this promise failed for evermore?

 

Has the Beloved forgotten to be gracious?

In this anger is compassion withheld from me?

 

And I said, "My grief is this:

"The right hand of the Most High has lost its power."

 

Then I remembered the works of the Beloved

and called to mind the wonders of other times.

 

Only as I began to meditate on these truths

and ponder the mighty deeds did I go

 

Into the innermost corners of my own heart

to find again the Spark of the Most High again.

 

Your way, oh Beloved is holy;

who is so great as the Beloved?

 

You are the God who works wonders

and declares your power in our hearts.

 

Every person, every thing is filled with the glory

the splendor and the comfort of the Divine.

 

The waters saw you, oh Most Divine,

the waters saw you and trembled

the very depths were shaken.

 

The clouds poured out water;

the skies thundered;

arrows of light flashed to and fro.

 

The sound of thunder was in the whirlwind;

lightning lit up the world and the earth shook.

 

Your way was in the sea and

your paths are in the great waters

where no footprints are seen.

 

In us these great waters are parceled

portioned out according to our need.

 

Stored in the vessels of our bodies;

our hearts become your temples.

 

Here guidance is given to each of us;

all we have to do is meditate on this truth.

 

78 Part I

 

Hear this teaching, oh my people;

incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

 

I will open my mouth in a parable;

I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.

 

That which you have heard and known,

that what our forbearers have told us;

we will not hide from the children.

 

We will recount to the generations to come;

the wonderful works and power of compassion.

 

The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow,

turned back on the day of the battle.

 

They kept the covenant of compassion,

and refused to walk in the ways of war.

 

Yet they then forgot what had been done,

and the wonders that had been shown to them.

 

Marvels were worked in the sight of their forefathers;

in the land of Egypt and on the field of Zoan.

 

How the sea opened up to let them pass through;

how the water stood up like walls.

 

The people were led by day by a great cloud

and all through the night by a glow of fire.

 

In the desert rocks split open

and gave them drink as from the deep.

 

Streams came out of the cliff

and water gushed forth like a river.

 

But the people did not see these as miracles;

rebelling in the desert against their own selves.

 

In their hearts they tested the Divine

by demanding food for their cravings.

 

They railed against the Divine and said.

"Can God set a table for us in the wilderness?"

 

 

True, when a rock was struck water gushed out

so much water that the gullies overflowed.

 

But is God able to give us bread,

or provide meat for the people?

 

How to explain what happened next?

How to give words to a miracle?

 

They say the clouds were commanded

to open up the doors of heaven.

 

Manna for them to eat rained down upon them;

like a grain poured out from heaven.

 

So mortals ate the bread of angels;

and food enough for all was provided.

 

The east wind blew in the heavens

and led out a south wind with great might.

 

Flesh rained down upon them like dust;

winged birds were like the sand of the sea.

 

They fell in the midst of their camp,

and round about their dwellings.

 

So they ate and were well filled,

for they were given what they craved.

 

But this did not stop their cravings

though food was still in their mouths.

 

Still they went on seeking protection

with no faith in the works of daily wonder.

 

Anger was mounted against them

their strongest men were slain

and the youth of the land were laid low.

 

Their days were brought to a close like a breath,

and their years ended in sudden terror.

 

When they were slain they would seek the Divine;

and repent and diligently search for a God.

 

They would remember the Beloved was their rock

and the Most High the Giver of Life.

 

But they tried to flatter God with their mouths,

and lied with prayers on their tongues.

 

Their hearts were not steadfast toward the Beloved

and they were not faithful to precept of compassion.

 

Yet they endured and were not destroyed

as they learned to hold back anger and wrath.

 

For they were but flesh, you remember

a breath that goes forth and does not return.

 

78 Part II

 

How often these people were disobedient in the wilderness;

how often they offended in the days in the desert?

 

Again and again they tempted each other

and provoked one another against another.

 

They did not remember the power that was shown

in the days when they lived among enemies.

 

How rivers were turned into blood,

so no stream gave water for a thirst.

 

How swarms of flies came to eat them up

and then the frogs which destroyed them.

 

How the crops were given to the caterpillar

and the fruit of their toil to the locust.

 

The cattle were taken by hailstones

and the livestock by hot thunderbolts.

 

It was as if there was a blazing anger;

a troop of destroying angels who came.

 

Their souls were not spared from death;

but their lives given to the plague.

 

The firstborn were all struck down;

the flower of manhood in the dwellings of Ham.

 

The people ran out of the land like sheep;

in the wilderness they were like a flock.

 

When the sea overwhelmed their pursuers;

they were not afraid but rejoiced in safety.

 

Out on the holy land they dwelt in tents,

and apportioned the land according to inheritance.

 

Yet they could not keep the precepts of compassion,

and did not keep the commandments of the Beloved.

 

They turned away and were disloyal like their fathers;

they were undependable like the warped bow.

 

Instead of searching their own hearts

they built hill-altars and filled them with idols.

 

Instead of knowing God as their own breath;

the very breath that was inhaled and exhaled.

 

They kept God as something outside of them;

something kept in far away places, far from life.

 

Thus they took up the sword and swore

to regain their inheritance of the promised land.

 

The fire consumed their young men;

there were no wedding songs for the maidens.

 

Their priests were felled by the sword

and the widows made no lamentation.

 

Then the people woke as though from sleep

like warriors refreshed with wine they awoke.

 

Their enemies were seen as parts of themselves

and they were ashamed of how they had warred.

 

Generals who could not put away their warring ways

were given no voice in the actions of the people.

 

People who knew the power of love;

how to find it and how to manage it,

 

To these people were given a sanctuary

splendid like the heights of heaven.

 

The highest one was a servant;

yes, one was taken from the sheepfolds.

 

He was taken from following the ewes

to become a shepherd over the people.

 

So he piloted them with a faithful and true heart

and guided them with the skill of his hands.

 

79

 

Oh Beloved, we have become as the heathens;

who think only on making war and enemies.

 

Thus we have profaned the holy temples

and made the cities a heap of rubble.

 

We have given the bodies of children

as food for the birds of the air,

 

And the flesh of our loved ones

has been left to the beasts of the field.

 

We have shed blood like water on both sides

so there was no one to bury the dead.

 

We have become a reproach to our neighbors

an object of scorn and derision to those around us.

 

How long will we entertain this anger;

how long will our fury blaze like a fire?

 

How long will we believe we can kill

and kill in the name of the Most High?

 

How long shall our children be devoured

and our dwellings made among ruins?

 

Remember not our past sins

but let compassion be swift to meet us

for we have been brought very low.

 

Help us, oh Beloved to find your ways

deliver us from ourselves and our unknowing.

 

Let not the others say, "Where is their God?"

Let it be known to all that we live in compassion

so there is no more avenging of shed blood.

 

Let the sorrowful sighing of prisoners come before you

and by your great might spare those who were condemned.

 

May those who revile the peacemakers find

unrest returns seven-fold times to their bosoms.

 

For we shall a people of compassion

and the sheep of a green and wide pasture.

 

We will be the people of peace

and give thanks forever

with our praise from age to age.

 

80

 

Oh Beloved, may we remember the ways of compassion;

let our acts reflect the truths of Divine will within us.

 

Just as there is fire in the wood;

let their be peace in our bodies.

 

Pain and suffering are a weakness;

when we try to win over others

 

With such pleas for sympathy,

we try to touch their hearts.

 

We cheat others' finest feelings,

as we turn them to our own egos.

 

When one whines, "I am fed with a bread of tears;

am given bowls of tears to drink."

 

That one is made a derision of the neighbors

and the enemies laugh them to scorn.

 

Restore us to take responsibility for our ways;

to know that what we have we asked for.

 

We are not vines that have been cast out

and then grown up in chance and happenstance.

 

Ground has been prepared for us;

as a people we have taken root and fill the land.

 

Mountains are covered with the shadow

with our many fellow kind.

 

Even the towering cedar trees

are eclipsed by the buildings of our hands.

 

So why do you break down the walls

so others may pluck off the fruits of our labor?

 

Turn now and behold what we have done;

how our thoughts have shaped the essences.

 

When we are burnt with a fire like rubbish;

or perish in the rebuke of compassion.

 

Know that we are our own making;

we have made ourselves strong and weak.

 

Therefore let us not turn from compassion

when you love there is complete attainment.

 

81

 

Sing to the Beloved with all your strength;

raise a loud shout to the compassion of the Most High.

 

Raise up a song and sound the tumbrel;

the merry harp and well-tuned lyre.

 

Blow the ram's horn at the new moon;

and at the day of the full moon make a feast.

 

For this a statute of the oldest religions

a law of the ancestors passed down to us.

 

Compassion lays a solemn charge upon us;

each to follow the duty laid upon the heart.

 

With responsibility perform your dues;

but do not hold on to the fruits of your actions.

 

If you hear an unfamiliar voice saying:

"Your shoulder will not be eased from burden;

your hands are made for bearing a load."

 

Know this is not the voice of thunder

from a secret place to test your waters.

 

Hear, oh my people and be admonished;

oh people if you would only listen to this:

 

God shall not be a stranger among you;

you do not have to go afar to seek truth.

 

The Beloved has promised to us:

"Open your mouth and I will fill it."

 

Yet this does not happen without work;

to live there is duty to bear and to perform.

 

Do not give in to the stubbornness

of a heart that wishes never to change.

 

Look to the lowliest among you

for lessons in what is needed from you.

 

Learn stillness so you may hear

the instructions for living a life of love.

 

These cannot come from pages of paper;

but are written in the ink of your heart's blood.

 

The very center of your being is a temple

where the Beloved dwells no matter what.

 

Only your actions can tell whether

you are listening or not to the duty.

 

Those who hate will cringe before work

and their punishment will last forever.

 

To those who work are fed with the finest wheat

and satisfied with honey even from rocks.

 

82

 

From your heart you take the council of the Beloved;

from here comes the judgment in the midst of gods.

 

"How long will you judge unjustly,

and show favor to the wicked?"

 

Save the weak and the orphan;

defend the humble and needy.

 

Rescue the weak and the poor;

deliver them from the power of the wicked.

 

They do not know, nor do they understand;

they go about in their own darkness.

 

The Beloved has told us, "You are gods!

all of you are children of the Most High.

 

Nevertheless you shall die like mortals;

and fall like any prince."

 

Arise in us, the Beloved of Compassion,

and make all nations your very own.

 

83

 

Oh let not your compassion be silent;

or your body still in continual meditation.

 

Like the animals that graze and rest;

know your times for stillness and introspection.

 

Out of the storehouse of meditation,

take up your tasks and duties with a glad heart.

 

Perform your duty because life obligates you;

as householder you have a family to care for.

 

As a solitary who hears easily the Most High;

still you must not forget the joy of preparing food.

 

Even as a saint must one keep touch with the seasons

by planting and harvesting even if it is only flowers.

 

Having been born in this world do not lose

your temper at praise or blame.

 

Attach yourself to your duty like a burr;

let the outcome of your action float away.

 

Abandon all attachment to your actions;

know that in their performance you are done.

 

Renounce the desire for reward or punishment;

that renunciation is considered the purest worship.

 

Who can control the outcome of any deed?

you can only maintain the poise of your heart.

 

Do not make yourself like a whirling dust

or like the chaff before the wind.

 

Or the fire that burns down a forest

or the flame that sets mountains ablaze.

 

Cover your face with modesty

when people seek your name.

 

Yet let them see you work in compassion

and do all your deeds in the light of day.

 

84

 

How dear to me is the dwelling of the Beloved

my soul has a desire and longing for the courts of compassion;

my heart and flesh rejoice in the living God within.

 

The sparrow has found her a house

and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young;

by the side of altars to loving kindness gather the mothers.

 

Happy are those who dwell in your house!

they will always be praising you with thanks.

 

Happy are the people whose strength is You!

whose hearts are set on the pilgrim's way.

 

Those who go through the desolate valley

will find it to be a place of cool springs,

 

For the early rains have covered it

with the refreshment of pools of water.

 

People will climb from height to height;

and yet the Beloved is revealed within.

 

Oh Beloved hear my prayer

hearken to me, the Giver of Good

 

For one day in your courts is better

than a thousand in my own room.

 

To stand at the threshold of the house of God

is better than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.

 

For the Beloved is both sun and shield;

from the Beloved comes both grace and glory.

 

No good thing will the Beloved withhold;

from those who walk with integrity in truth.

 

Oh Most Beloved of Compassion

happy are they who put their trust in you!

 

85

 

You have been gracious to our land, oh Beloved;

you have restored the good fortunes of the people.

 

In your love is complete attainment;

what are we to desire for experience?

 

Why do we seek initiation when we have inner happenings?

What more do we want than the daily miracle of the everyday?

 

Restore our equilibrium within our hearts

let all anger and dis-ease depart from us.

 

Give me life again more abundantly

that my voice may rise up with song.

 

So I may I show mercy to others

and grant their actions non-judgment.

 

Mercy and truth have met together;

righteousness and peace have kissed each other

 

Truth shall spring up from the earth,

and righteousness look down from heaven.

 

The land will grant us prosperity,

and the fruits yield with increase.

 

Righteousness shall go before us

and peace be a pathway for our feet

 

86

 

Bow down your ear, oh my Beloved and answer me;

for I am poor and in misery, or so I think.

 

I feel a lack in my bones and in my heart is a silence;

it seems I am alone on this path to God with slow rowing.

 

I perceive nothing of the divine in my life;

my days are a barren desert in the noon heat.

 

Out of that silence came a voice without words;

a sign not written with letters or paint.

 

"There is love and divinity within you;

yea, even within the darkest heart.

 

But it is not enough that compassion

be in the cave of your heart.

 

It must course through your veins

and blood cells to permeate your entire being.

 

Only then can you experience joy at all times

when you are alone in your rooms

or with the people around you."

 

Where is the holiness I want for my actions?

"In the changes as rhythmic as your own pulse.

 

To find peace in all changes is to find

the divine within and without.

 

There is no need to call upon a god

with cries and pleas for this and that.

 

True divinity is within the acceptance

that things change, people change

and nothing lasts forever."

 

Teach me your ways oh my Beloved

that I may walk in your truth;

and knit my heart to you with love.

 

I will thank oh my Beloved with all my heart

and glorify your precepts for evermore.

 

For great is your love toward me;

you have delivered be from the nethermost Pit.

 

When the arrogant rise up, my Beloved

and if violent persons seek my life

it is because they have not seen you.

 

You, oh my Beloved are gracious and full of compassion

slow to anger and full of kindness and truth shall I be.

 

Turn toward me and have mercy upon me;

give strength to your servant

and save the child of your handmaiden.

 

Let my compassion be a sign of your favor

because you have helped and comforted me.

 

87

 

Hear a prayer, one given for ancestors;

those from whom our days are sprung.

 

Everyone was born of a woman;

for each of us came through her travail.

 

In her body was laid the foundation

for the spirit of God; for a person.

 

For this holy work was her body made;

for the rearing of children is her heart.

 

But the feminine principle is not alone;

half of every child is the giving of the father.

 

Even the soil of a land that feeds the grain

becomes part of the children; their parents.

 

Thus we are enrolled in a place as they say:

"These also were born here."

 

The singers and the dancers will praise,

"All my fresh springs are in you."

 

88

 

Come before the Beloved with praise,

let thanksgiving rise from your ribs.

 

Think not that this is good or that is bad;

just witness what you see and feel.

 

Draw conclusions based on understanding;

be eager to learn and to explore the world.

 

Do not be like those who revile themselves

for the errors they have made; forgive yourself.

 

In a glad heart is no room for hate or anger;

happiness is a gift only you can give yourself.

 

Be generous; with yourself and with others.

When you have a loaf there is half a loaf for them.

 

Take from the earth only what you can use;

take only those things that you truly need.

 

Be a good caretaker of your tools

for they are the holy extensions of your hands.

 

Name them, bless them, respect them, maintain them

for they are gifts which have been given to you at great price.

 

 

When I lie down for rest; I give up a prayer

for gratitude is my gift to the world.

 

May the words of my mouth

and the meditations of my heart

be acceptable in the sight of the Beloved.

 

89 Part I

 

To the greatness of your love, oh Beloved, forever will I sing;

from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.

 

For I am persuaded that your love is established forever;

you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.

 

"I have made a covenant with each child;

with life do I abide in each and every thing.

 

The lines of your families are established

and your traces are preserved forever."

 

The heavens bear witness to the wonders

and there is a faithfulness in the assembly of holy ones.

 

For who in the skies can be compared to love?

who is greater than the love of the Most High?

 

The Beloved is adored by day and by night;

how terrible to live without the assurance of this love.

 

I sing: "Yours is the heaven;

the earth is also yours.

 

You rule the raging of the sea

and the surging of its waves.

 

Your have made the north and the south.

You have given us love before we knew this."

 

How can we live with our deep and abiding love?

How will love guide our decisions and choices?

 

In silence a loud voice cries out within;

from this shall each be led in faith.

 

Yet my freedom stops at the edge

of the freedom of my fellow person.

 

Happy are the people who know the festal shout!

They walk, oh Beloved in the light of your presence.

 

They rejoice daily in the name of compassion;

they are jubilant in your righteousness.

 

For you are the glory of their strength

and by your favor is loving kindness exalted.

 

Truly we are children in love;

we have so much to learn

and so much to be thankful for.

 

89 Part II

 

In the days of old the faithful people believed

in crowns and warriors; servants and dominion.

 

Many and mighty were the wars and sacrilege

done in the name of one they called God.

 

For their killing, maiming death and destruction

they had a god of vengeance and retribution.

 

As a circle moves around to its beginning

we turn again to an even older religion.

 

Take us to the times when peace reigned on earth;

when our tasks were in nourishing, caring and loving.

 

When responsibility is more to be praised

than dominion over others is sought.

 

When respect for mothers and fathers

overcomes the urge to treat life lightly.

 

For mothers feel that their first born

is higher than any kings of the earth.

 

She says: "I will keep my love for this child forever;

and the covenant of my caring shall stand firm without fail.

 

I will establish this line with my love

and upon this child as the days of heaven.

 

If my children forsake my love

and do not walk according to my judgments,

 

If they break my statues of responsibility

and do not keep my commandments of caring,

 

My love for that child will continue forever;

however, I will have the wisdom to know limits.

 

I will not take my love from the child,

nor let my faithfulness prove false.

 

I will not break my covenant

nor change what has gone out of my lips.

 

Once I have sworn by my own holiness;

I will not lie about anything to my child.

 

This line shall endure forever

and the child's life like a sun before me.

 

It shall stand fast for evermore like the moon,

the abiding witness in the night sky.

 

But if a child casts you off, rejects your care

and you have become enraged with this one,

 

If your child breaks the covenants of caring

defiles his possessions and hurls them to the ground,

 

Then your loving increases in wisdom

as you seek to find ways to cure this disease.

 

When your walls are breached

and your accounts laid in ruins,

 

All who pass know of the problems

and even the neighbors have scorn.

 

The child has put an end to your splendor

and cast your inheritance to the ground.

 

The days of your youth are cut short

and you are covered with shame.

 

Remember how short life is

and frail all flesh is made to be.

 

Who can live and not see death?

who can be saved from the power of the grave?

 

Where are the loving kindnesses of old;

which were promised to the people of pastures?

 

In the days of great cities, even more

is the principle of compassion needed.

 

May I be adequate to the job

may I have the patience to learn.

 

Blessed be the Beloved for evermore and evermore!

Amen and In Truth, I say, In Truth.

Copyright Jane Reichhold 2001

 

Book 3 Psalms of the New Testament 60 - 89 

Book 4 Psalms of the New Testament 90 - 119

Book Five Psalms of the New Testament 120 - 150

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