We often hear that meanings are “lost in translation.” This morning I was gratified to read two modern translations of Psalm 113, in addition to the traditional one from the New American Bible, that amplified the meaning in lovely ways. From the poetic Ancient Songs Sung Anew I was called to reflect on the many names by which people of different religious traditions address God. It is a beautiful reflection which connects our image of God to the beauty of the universe. Hallelujah! it begins. There is a name of One that only servants know, the name of God, they carry deep inside, and praise as a source of blessing throughout life and time. It is a name they lift in honor and in prayer from dawn till dusk. It flies above the nations like a flag and in the sky at night it hangs, a star of beauty.It is the name of One who sits enthroned and gazes out upon the blanket of the universe…
Nan Merrill, in her book Psalms for Praying, calls us more actively to praise while naming God in increasingly vivid images: Sing praises to the Beloved of all hearts! Sing praises, all you who would honor Love, sing praises to the Creator of the universe! Bless the Holy One from this time forth and forever more! Aspire to know the Unknowable, to enter fully into the Great Mystery, to be fertile ground to the Heart-seed of Love…One can hardly stay seated when joining the poet in the ever-expanding song of praise as her language lifts and soars.
Maybe today is a good day to reflect on the many ways we image God and to listen to our hearts for new titles – maybe because we have had experiences that call us to more or have deepened our need or have grown us beyond where we began with God. Or maybe we just need to hold our ever-present, well-worn images that need to be spoken aloud so that our reverence can cause us to bow again to the One we have always known. May this day be a blessing to all of us, in God’s name, I pray.