A Psalmic Response to Psalm 68

Sing praise to the Rider of the Clouds,
the divine warrior
who comes and lets the women
pillage their enemies’ houses?

Like Gandhi with the Gita,
I can spiritualize all the wars in the psalms:
think of pillaging for gems among the ruins
of my slain obsessions, my clung-to causes (now defeated).

But it’s the vision of the warrior God
with which I most want to do battle,
if psalmic honesty is to come to the fore.

And I’m no less keen on those pep rallies in the sanctuary,
the tribes gathering to display themselves to one another,
parading in their designer finery.

Even if I can be moved by a gathering of pilgrims from far and near,
attentive to beauty, bonding in melody,
Psalmist 68 clearly prefers a more metallic sound.

You can tell she’d like to win the lottery
by the way she details the gold wings of a dove
in a silver sheath–the kind of spoils got
by even a homeless woman, after God kicks butt.
Could David be the pseudonym for a fashion-conscious woman of God?
A God who’s blown out her enemies like smoke fading away in the sky?
When I think of how I like to play street hockey,
I have a longing to go at a match with this cocky divine warrior,
and check hard.


O God,
may we put up no buffers between ourselves and the truth
of what is in us–the truth of our responses to others, the world, the words of
those who go before us, singing in their own key.

May we begin with confession,
with melting like wax before the heat of your blazing,
–no warding off the encounter.

Then we can bear witness, with presence, without looking away,
to whatever is revealed in the heart of another.

There we bear your Presence.

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