Nearing God increases wonder,
~~and nearing His whisper fills the listening soul:
His hum gives assurance;
~~His tap and pat begin and confirm a firm course.
His ringing call,
~~His thunderous-sounding ponderous pounding,
His vast and sweeping overpowering hail astounding
~~swell the trembling, listening, hearing soul.
~~but please, Lord, teach me tenderly.
Inform my faith the way swelling days enlarge the meadow where expectant does graze,
~~not like the upward struggle of a burdened mountain burro.
Yet, if You choose to try me Job-like,
~~then set my life aside from deathly illness as sad as childless silence, from doubt sounding like a well-intentioned wife, and from defense surrounding like a force of friends:
~~then set my life inside the center of my soul, and cast Your will around me as You please.
~~God’s promise is fulfilled.
His servants have inherited the earth;
~~His humble and humbled will build the world anew.
On the far side of Armageddon, men reflect one human race and kind;
~~whether us or other, His kingdom will bring all mortals together.
The seed of the meek shall inherit it;
~~immortal generations will live in it: named one race, humankind.
~~that Your dearly loved be saved,
~~that Your beloved be set free, like the scent of hyacinths on a bend of wind,
Lord, let Your children remain as willful as a tumble of twisted twigs,
~~save the sincere, lifting as selflessly as dew in morning’s innocence;
And in the saddened land of a parched and hardened heart,
~~before day’s end folds up the sun, hear me.
~~How brilliant is Your power that You give man unceasing answers to the universe!
Though the lion is master of the land and the great white shark the ocean,
~~You give man, the universal predator, all this, and greater still, the means to help and heal.
What is man that You extend his gifts by galaxies,
~~and more, You ever make him to become as great as You intend him to be.
I've reached the one-third mark. I've posted 50 psalms. The project is to compose 150 psalms, the number in the biblical Book of Psalms. Others have taken on this challenge. My goal is to offer the Baha’i perspective. The Baha’i Faith is the most recent of the divinely-revealed religions, bringing the urgently-needed principles of justice among the nations of the world. I hope you will follow the links to the Baha’i websites which I’ve posted. Thanks to those who have visited. I always welcome your comments along this journey which is at once an ancient path and a timely message.
I’ve taken inspiration from these words written by Baha’u’llah (1817-1892), Founder of the Baha’i Faith: “Through the movement of Our Pen of glory We have, at the bidding of the omnipotent Ordainer, breathed a new life into every human frame, and instilled into every word a fresh potency.” Thank you for joining me on this journey of personal renewal.
It is like the refreshing water over the valley, that purified the fertile journey of every nation, religion, even the good Samaritan:
~~the living word that forgave every parched slope on the path to everlasting life;
As the juice of ripened fruit, and as the juice of sanctified fruit that delivered the Father's law upon Mount Carmel:
~~for there He is known by the fruit of His command, that finally we love one another, even as we are loved by the Lord.
Biblical Psalm 133
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard:
~~that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion:
~~for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
~~pulled wingless by children, Origin of Flight and Air, I am lower than a fly.
I stand without the world, Father of Creation,
~~nothing but a weary witness to its end.
They call me American, fierce eagle, proud;
~~they summon my keen sight to their aim: where is Your greater height?
They imagine me woman, title me white, shifting as moonlight in a stream;
~~they set my place at once above my reach yet beneath their feet: where is Your gender bridge?
They christen me in their tradition, now on a mountain, down in a valley, like a mule weighted with notions;
~~they announce their conclusions for the sake of echo: where is Your initial word?
Name me Your child, Lord, and I will be born to You;
~~I will live where isle and land are a reflection of heaven and every sound in Jerusalem is new.
~~for faith is favor from the first and gain from the beginning.
Scientist and seeker ponder on shores of known and new,
~~ explorers sail on a shimmering veil,
~~yet those who quest share a hopeful horizon: trust is a divinely human thing.
When the tempest tests, courage pounds in the pilgrim’s chest;
~~when gale winds gust, his breast sounds a brave blast.
Then is he awakened to his hidden heart, aware of silent air, avowed in God,
~~his Lord alone, invisible, faithful, essential;
~~then is he alive in awe, alove in wonder: trust is a freely-given thing.
~~His word is my dawn, and every point of nearness my awakening.
Daylight delivers color and form;
~~my seeking heart is raised again.
I long to learn the laws of His nature
~~and to earn the ways of His good pleasure.
I long for the Lord the way a man seeks length and generations;
~~I am long for His way, all good ways.
And on the night of my days,
~~the Lord is my certain morning.
~~we longed to serve God’s golden verse.
Each sage of ages gone brought every phase and shape of moon and carried lamps of psalm,
~~yet the heart of earth and mountain peaks speak of His godlier, gloried sun.
When one who loves God begins to solve the premise of empires and the danger of his own garden, the hostile and holiest birthplace of faith,
~~then, lighted by delight, he orients the stonier man.
In Iran, on that pleated, petaled sore rose, did rain descend:
~~let the one who ponders this respond.
~~in the kingdom of God on earth, a house of worship is raised, a home for the Lord and homage in His quarried realm.
Flowers of civilization, red, white, Asian, African: green leaves of His book ring a new site;
~~in the day of God, nine gardens, nine pools, nine fountains encompass paradise.
Nine avenues advance the followers of light;
~~nine entrance ways ascend to dome the sun.
What is the marrow of a house of worship at time’s end, when every prophecy has been fulfilled?
~~What temple stands past truth of water, faith of birds in flight?
~~Word of God in word, song of God in song, scriptures of every religion recited in limitless light.
I will dwell in a home where the word of the Lord has dominion;
~~All the year* I will dwell where His will is sovereign.
A man of worldly names and knowledge may settle on a hill with barred door,
~~and many men of earthly might and power may secure themselves from the stranger and the poor;
But as for me, I will build my household at the foot of His mountain splendor;
~~I will lodge on the lowlands by the peak of His grandeur.
Beside the shores of His light and loftiness, I will stay;
~~Within His ocean breeze, where scriptures speak, I will remain;
~~I will abide in the clear and cloudy air of questions and answers to prayer.
My shelter will be the lands of His mercy and glory;
~~my refuge will be the place of His perfection.
I will dwell in a house where the Lord may enter in honor,
~~a house so beautiful its dust is gold.
*The virtues in this psalm name the Baha’i calendar months.
~~What we stand under, how can we understand?
You forgive before us and place a planet at our feet:
~~And what have we to give?
If we offer our obedience, yet this mine of earthly wealth is Your creation:
~~When I bow my head, how great the riches within my reach!
~~Lord, I am abandoned where carrion scavengers move on to search for better.
Man imposing his own will loses his balance and becomes ill,
~~but the tiny centipede without fault steps its way along its sum of summer nights.
Generations of vain desires are like snares in a field,
~~yet pitiful tares and weeds thrown to the fire send forth abundant seed.
The noon sun in the valley is hot and the cave in the mountain is cool at night,
~~but Lord, only You can feel the lukewarm heart, indifferent to its godly nature:
~~create in me the one green hope that grows, however slowly, on a sinner’s stony slope.
He who gives his earthly riches will receive heavenly wealth;
~~he who sacrifices his worldly goods, a treasury of virtue will be his everlasting gain:
the man who seeks to serve on earth will find a vein of riches in a higher kingdom;
~~the one who serves humankind, never-failing abundance will flow from his hand.
~~delight, you every-season growing trees:
For you lift fragrance from a rocky cliff,
~~and you send incense from a sandy ancient land.
You stretch your sleeves beyond the magi;
~~you raise your shadow over Solomon.
You ever form a warm light, herbed bowl, and shelter;
~~you sing an everlasting green-winged song of healing.
Be glad the Lord has written your wonders in His book:
~~be ever happy He has made your virtues like His word.
~~Who will see the foretold judgment day when trumpet blasts wake the dead, and blind behold the signs of world’s end?
What man will count the day of reckoning?
~~What man will count the gathering and reckoning where will appear above all understanding a second coming?
How will man bear retribution on the day of glory?
~~How will man bear untold retribution; how, if not for resurrection, on the day of the “Glory of God”*?
~~I will sing my days in praise of peace on earth and nations voicing harmony.
Man glorifies himself in war,
~~But the Glory of God* is in peace.
In place of Armageddon, He has placed the laws of heaven,
~~For there was peace in His presence, and in His presence, peace was there.
His signs endure and plan for peace, divine and pure, already here:
~~And I will sing; yes, I will surely sing.
~~Your Word, O Lord, is a running river stream: I grow toward it.
Yet Your Word is a mighty force,
~~And my dread is a forceful fright.
You rend the land: Your rapids carve a canyon;
~~You lift the tide: Your vapors hide a secret.
Bend me to Your Word, O Lord, though it be a flood;
~~Though it shift my stand, O Lord, bend me to Your Word.
~~before my quest, He opens an eternal sky.
In my hand and hope of fruit, I find His orchards;
~~on my plate are placed the harvests of His fields.
To wet my lips, my Lord fills earthen basins sheened in sea;
~~to fill my cup, He pours a stream of life.
Before my being, my Beloved knows me;
~~my Love watches over me before I see.
~~and does not bring injury to another, though he himself be injured.
Happy the people who give according to God's gold and rule,
~~and pleased is God with them.
They are His travelers, shaping their way through shadows in the desert;
~~they appear to one another on the path, east of storm and west of sand.
And when each passerby directs the nearing one to the other's next oasis,
~~then each describes abundance to the other,
~~how rich the land where each cares for his brother.
~~and a Messenger in every era Whose call returns in spirit.
Many are called: kings are called to raise the banner of His name;
~~Many kings are called.
Many are called: patriarchs are called to attain the mountain where every eye shall see;
~~Many patriarchs are called.
Many are called: divines are called in clouds to praise the Glory of the Father;
~~Many divines are called.
Many are called: rulers are called to enter His holy vineyard;
~~Many rulers are called.
Many are called by the sovereign Lord: all vassals in His realm;
~~Many by the sovereign Lord of all are called.
~~and formed creation to conform with His perfection.
By His measure, human nature may sing His praise;
~~my beloved’s voice is soft and strong.
For His favor, we pledge to abide within the will of God;
~~our marriage vow is the heart’s guide, a covenant our love’s song.
~~I hunger for His good-pleasure,
this hope of nearness my perfect need.
If I should turn my face away from God yet have the earth my feast,
~~how could I have a severed tongue yet taste?
My fast is for the Lord;
~~my thirst is trained in waves of light,
this longing sunrise to sunset for day without end.
~~moments rising above time like waves that sing from a stirring string;
Moments as remembered as wishes hushed from lovers’ call to whispered calm,
~~as momentous as wonder grown from child’s quest to grown-up’s testament;
And we, on calendar’s bridge, in the night of the year, stand, suspended between stars in the timelessness beyond and those in the water below,
~~as though we are gifts exchanged between them.
~~I will pour myself pure water like a stream that starts towards the ocean.
And a river will fall over my eyes, mist as fresh as forgiveness, rain as sweet as reunion;
~~a river will flow into my cupped hand, the soul of youth in a pool of beauty.
Yes, I will prepare, before the Blessed Beauty, ablutions for prayer, reflection of His will, echo of His desire;
~~I will offer myself, prepared by water, like a ready shoot cut in its flower.
Some may not realize psalms are not confined to the 150 psalms of the Old Testament. I’ve read many beautiful psalms on the Internet that convey New Testament Christian themes. My psalms are written from a Baha’i perspective. I have included links to official Baha’i sites, so the reader can find an introduction to the Baha’i Faith. Thank you, Anonymous, for your interest in distinguishing between original and biblical psalms. My goal is to compose 150 psalms, as others have done.
For anyone interested in matters pertaining to this blog, please see entries tagged "psalmspeak" which is the title of the blog. One entry includes a short definition of the term, psalm.
~~Look to Israel, Haifa, from Mount Carmel.
Look to Israel, all people;
~~Look to all people, Israel, from The Universal House of Justice on the holy mountain.
Look to the House of Justice, all lands and earth;
~~Look, lands homeless, hopeless, to the hope of justice in the house of man.
God, why are You eclipsed by men in power and full?
~~They are seen as great: large as the sun, as bright as stars,
~~yet they are no more than a moment’s moon: when will You appear again?
Send a savory ray to me between the rue and rain you gather over them;
~~become a healing balm to the meek; break up the bombs of the ill.
The vain make their plan and ask Your blessing;
~~I make no plan and ask Your will.
In the beginning, the prideful, proud of their pride, see a world of weapon and wound;
~~in the end, the innocent, afraid to fear, see an earth of war or worth.
In their desire for more, the proud mar Your store,
~~but they can never harm You.
I struggle against them,
~~but I have harmed no one: save me.
They fight the other’s body to the ground;
~~I fight them all: have I thrown down my own soul?
When we end the ruin, battle and field humbled to dust,
~~help us then begin to raise the path where praise will lead us.