The Psalms Sing With Us
This past weekend we made the trip down the island to visit Sidney Booktown. We had heard from a number of people over the last two years that this was a necessary outing for newcomers to Vancouver Island, so we finally decided to check it out. Despite the cloudy, cool conditions, it was a great way to spend the afternoon. Sidney is a delightful little seaside town with a whole bunch of really cool bookstores and coffee shops. If it wasn’t for a couple of eight year-olds whose tolerance for leisurely bookstore browsing has limits, I could have spent all day there!
One book that caught my eye in Tanner’s Books was Pamela Greenberg‘s The Complete Psalms. Greenberg is a woman (obviously!), a poet, and a former rabbinical student, so I figured her approach to the Psalms was bound to provide a unique and illuminating perspective for a stereotypical WASP like me! Given the fact that our church is in the middle of a short sermon series on the Psalms, and given the fact that I was going to be preaching the next day, I decided to pick up her book.
I’ve been reading a couple of Psalms a day since Saturday and have been thoroughly enjoying Greenberg’s interpretation/translation. There’s a lovely line in the introduction to the book that says, “Where our hearts go, the psalms sing with us.” I think I am going to enjoy “singing” along with Greenberg through the Psalms. Here’s a quote from the opening lines of Psalm 106, the psalm I preached from on Sunday:
Give thanks to the Creator for all that is good. Your kindness exists forever.
Who can put into words your eternal commitment? Who can make heard the entirety of your praise?
Blessed is the one who upholds justice, who acts rightly at all times.
Remember me, God, in your providence over the nation.
Watch over me with your protection, so I can see the happiness of those who love you—
rejoicing in the joy of your people, praise along with those who have chosen you as their own.
I love the Psalms… along with about a billion other people! Thanks for the recommendation.
Re: “Greenberg’s interpretation/translation.”
I think the word is “recycling.”
I have a pair of doves made from recycled beer bottles and concrete. Her poems are like them. Her poems are neither philological translations nor linguistic (dynamic equivalence) translations. She has taken Psalms that are old and made poems that are new from them. They are her personal expressions, just as my doves are the personal expressions of the artist. The medium of the artist was old glass and concrete. Her medium is old Psalms. The old meaning, like the old beer bottles, has been taken away and a new meaning given.
Ryan, last year my beloved and I spent a weekend in a small Sidney hotel. No little eight year old with limited patience so we spent lots of time in the little bookstores, the coffee shops and ocean side strolls.
An excellent weekend!
Next time I’m going eight year-old free :).