Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Monday, July 12, 2021 (Day 42)

Katie Snipes Lancaster

Psalm 42 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation)
As a deer yearns for streams of water, so I yearn for You, O God.
My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and see the presence of God?
My tears became my bread day and night as they said to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
…How bent, my being, how you moan for me!
Hope in God, for yet will I acclaim the Lord, rescuing presence…
Deep unto deep calls out at the sound of Your channels.
All Your breakers and waves have surged over me.

An Opening Word
Psalm 42 is one of the greatest hits. Of course the deer yearns for water and we yearn for God. We thirst for the living God. When our plans go up in smoke, when our well-thought-out agendas get mangled by an unanticipated change, our tears too become our daily bread, and our friends too, (or not-friends) ask “Where is your God?” (or we hear ourselves asking that question in the deepest parts of ourselves). But thank God. “Deep unto deep calls out” at the surging sound of God’s presence. I think Psalm 42 says it all.

Today’s mystic is Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg, if that isn’t a mouthful of a name. She has a cosmic touch, her poetry seeming to cut straight through to the galaxies beyond. It is scattered with metaphor: wind, light, lightening, color, glitter, dove, pools of water, the moon. I am moved by the phrase “darkly radiant light,” which matches Bill Evertsberg’s Christmas Eve sermon attending to our lunar spirituality.

Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg was from Austria and is part of the “High Baroque period of German history. She married her uncle (you don’t hear about that as much anymore), and was part of the rich, deep, dynamic conversations between Protestants and Catholics in 17th century Europe.

Prayer from the Mystics: Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg (1633–1694)
You unseen lightning flash, you darkly radiant light,
You power that’s heart-infused, incomprehensible being!
Something divine within my spirit had its being
That stirs and spurs me: I sense a curious light.

Never by its own power the soul is thus alight
It was a miracle-wind, a spirit, a creative being,
The eternal power of breath, prime origin of being
That in me kindled for himself this heaven-flaring light.

You mirror-spectrum-glance, you many-colored gleam!
You glitter to and fro, are incomprehensibly clear;
In truth’s own sunlight the spirit-dove-flights gleam.

The God-stirred pool has also been troubled clear!
First on the spirit-sun reflecting it casts its gleam,
The moon; then turns about, and earthward, too, is clear.

July 11, 2021

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