this is not a translation. it's' just me reading psalm 90, a "psalm of moses," and putting it into my own words. this concept was part of my sermon on sunday, and i hope that maybe you find something meaningful in it, not least of which might be a renewed interest in the amazing poetry of the psalms. sometimes the archaic imagery and religious jargon turns us off, but there is so much incredible life and passion in the psalms that it's a shame we so easily dismiss them as repetitive and irrelevant.
(1)O Great God, you are awesome. You have been our home forever: from the very beginning, our ancestors worshipped you. You continue to make us feel at home with you.
(2)Before all the things we think are permanent, before technology, before literature, before life, before the mountains and the seas, even before time, you were God. From the very “once upon a time” of this universe until the “kingdom come” you are God. We praise you, O Great God.(3) But we are not so timeless as you. By your design, these bodies will once again return to the earth, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, as we say. We will wither and fade, like even the most long-lasting summer bloom. And still you will watch over us.
(4) When we become overwhelmed by time, both its incredible enormity and its tricky tick-tock pace, you remind us that time is not so concrete and heavy – doesn’t matter so much – to you. A whole moving marching millennium is, to you, no more than a matter of moments, time well spent.
(5) In some ways, we are overwhelmed by this, O Great God. So many millions have covered this earth, as numerous as the grains of sand on the beach: are we no more than that to you?
(6) Are we no more to you than a single blade of grass that grows with the dew and the morning sun, but is then cut down without consideration? So many of our scientists and great thinkers tell us this is how the universe works. We are often told that life occurred by random chance, and that the order of the universe is chaos. Most of the time we are not sure what to believe.
(7) And then there is our own sin. Because of our selfish behavior, we are racked with guilt and covered with shame. We sense your anger, and fear what you would say to us, if we were to listen. Sometimes we feel like we are at the end of our rope.
(8) We imagine that you keep a list of all of our mistakes, and that you keep it with you at all times, ready to mark down the next one. We know we have no secrets hidden from you.
(9) Our guilt and our shame feed our imaginations and allow us to envision you with a disappointed frown on your face. You seem ashamed of us. And disgusted. We too easily dismiss you as a judgmental God of rules and regulations, so that we can justify walking away from you. O Great God, is this all the hope we have for our future?(10) And what is this future of ours? Who knows how long we will live? Sixty? Seventy? Maybe into our eighties if we are lucky, but what will we have to show for it? What good are all those years if we aren’t with you? What is the end result of all that wasted time? Trouble. We are born, we grow up, we work and we die. A life of toil and trouble and a grey stone to mark our grave. Sometimes that seems like all there is.
(11) Who can make sense of all this random rage and relativity? Who can make sense of senseless death and wasted life? And wasted time? And when will it end?
(12) So Great God, be our teacher and mentor. Teach us to live well and live right and live now. Teach us to live at all, and to live
abundantly. Teach us the music and dance and passion and energy of the life you created us to be a part of. Show us life, real life, so
that we won’t waste our time.
(13) Please Lord! Show us these things. We are desperate. How long will we wait until we are truly infected by your joy and your
sense of overwhelming life? How long until the work of our hands is truly fulfilling? How long until we truly shine? If we have
wasted years, forgive us, and renew us, recharge us, rekindle in us a fire for life and love. Show us how to be alive in the present, right
now. There is no time to waste.
(14) So, surprise us, o God of birthdays and anniversaries. Shock us with life. Make us more aware of the miracles all around us.
Remind us each day of the magic of the morning, how everything begins anew, with clean crisp air and the diamond blanket of dew.
Open our eyes to the life all around us: the working busy ants on our sidewalk, the wiggling digging worms in our earth, the chirping
singing birds in our leafy clapping trees. There is music all around us, magic all around us, miracles all around us. Help us to see
them. And if we do, we won’t be able to keep ourselves from singing along! We will march to the beat of life banging out in our
chests. We will sing out with the joy of a million different songs, in praise of you, O Great God. We will join the dance with a million
other creatures, doing this majestic, complex, eternal dance of life.
(15) We know that there is enough bad news to fill up several 24 hour a day news channels. We’ve seen enough. Show us the good
news that is already all around us. So much life to be lived! So much joy! A God who loves us, not a God with a red pen in hand,
ready to mark in indelible ink each and every failing and falling and infidelity. Forgive our sin, redeem our imaginations and free us
from unnecessary guilt. Instead,
(16) Instead, put on display the things you have done for us, so that we can rub our eyes, like ones who are just adjusting to the
morning light after a long night of sleep. O, wake us up! We want to see your majesty and your pulsing passionate life. We want to
pass it on as an inheritance to our children, a legacy of life and love. We want it to be the trademark of our lives. When people see us,
we want them to recognize us as the ones who are truly alive, not just empty shells of people, stagnant and stiff, waiting out our time
until heaven. No! We want to be full of contagious, infectious life!
(17) So, come, O Great God, and fill us. Assure us. Surround us. Undergird us. Sandwich us. Cover us. Rain on us. Clothe us.
Bathe us. Breathe in us. Touch us. Move us. Transform us. Renew us. Rekindle us. Let us be reborn, like wide-eyed children who
are fully alive right now. For your life, O Lord, is older than the mountains, wider than the sea, bigger than the universe, new every
morning, visible in the magic of the world around us, and completely available to us right now. So, our prayer, for now and for all of
time, is that our work, our breathing and moving, our life, would not be in vain, would not be emptiness, would not be a chasing after
the wind, would not be a waste, but would be full of hope, full of joy, full of meaning, full of you, O Great God. Not tomorrow, not
after we get things straightened out. Not later. Now. Now. Now.