From the Stepenni Hymns this morning, for such dangerous times as these

From the Stepenni Hymns this morning, for such dangerous times as these November 25, 2018
photo by me

At Matins just this morning, parts of the first song of ascents were sung. In these dangerous times in both Ukraine and the United States, I consider this psalm in the Robert Alter translation and will say no more till I have soaked in prayerful discernment for more than a knee-jerk reaction can allow:

To the Lord when I was in straits
I called out and He answered me.

Lord, save my life from lying lips,
from a tongue of deceit.

What can it give you, what can it add,
a tongue of deceit?

A warrior’s honed arrows
with broom-wood coals.

Woe to me for I have sojourned in Meshech,
dwelt among the tents of Kedar.

Long has my whole being dwelt
among those who hate peace.

I am for peace, but when I speak,
they are for war.

-Psalm 120, in Robert Alter, The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary, p. 435-6

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