Reading through the Psalms can be a very interesting experience for a singer or musician. It can be very difficult to read through the actual words of the Psalms themselves instead of the many songs that have been written from them.
Case in point, yesterday I read through Psalm 121.
"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip -
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you -
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore."
And yet, while I see those words, in my head, the Brooklyn Tabernacle is playing. My Help (Cometh from the Lord).
"I will lift up mine eyes to the hills
From whence cometh my help
My help cometh from the Lord
The Lord which made Heaven and Earth
He said He would not suffer thy foot
Thy foot to be moved
The Lord which keepeth thee
He will not slumber nor sleep
Oh the Lord is thy keeper
The Lord is thy shade
Upon thy right hand
Upon thy right hand
No, the sun shall not smite thee by day
Nor the moon by night
He shall preserve thy soul
Even forever more
My help, my help, my help
All of my help cometh from the Lord."
Admittedly, the King James' Version is a little closer, but still runs into issues of differences in repetition and combination.
This dichotomy can play havoc with memorization. I run into the same problem with the Lord's Prayer, as I know it from the song and as such add the "For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever. Amen." every time.
But it is also a wonderful reminder that the words in this book are not meant to stay as black and white letters on a page. They are meant to be woven into our lives to such a point where the recall of that sentiment can spring forth as easily as song lyrics.
So, I'll keep being amused and awed by the interplay. And keep the Psalms and songs in my heart, to put into action.
Let the song play out.
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