I always marvel at the way good writers can convince readers of their stated purpose or evoke emotional response just by a turn of phrase. I am also well aware of the fact that each of us is affected differently by language, given our personality, culture and life experience. That’s why I sometimes use alternate translations from the Scriptures. Today is a good example for me because I find myself responding with joy to verses in Psalm 103 from both the lectionary translation and from Ancient Songs Sung Anew: the Psalms As Poetry. A sampling of lines from each may lean you toward a favorite or may allow each to touch you in a way that expands your appreciation – or you may find a translation that suits you better than both. Take a look and see what you think.
NAB (New American Bible): Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all my being bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. He pardons all your iniquities; he heals all your ills…For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness to those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.
ASSA: (Ancient Songs Sung Anew): God, I bless you with my whole heart and soul. In honor I invoke your name. Each day I bless you, God of all; never will I forget the good that you have meant to me…I wear your love and mercy like a crown…For as the heavens reach infinitely beyond all space and time, we swim in mercy as in an endless sea… For like a parent who tenderly loves a child, so deep in love are you with those who honor you.