Opening

June 1, 2021

Opening

Written by: Julia Smolucha

Katie Snipes Lancaster

Psalm 1 (adapted from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation)
And you shall be like a tree planted
by streams of water,
that bears fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither—
and in all that you do you prosper.

An Opening Word
Psalms speak to us. Psalms are both prayer to God, and God’s inevitable answer. Psalms hold a wrestling within them, never letting human suffering take a back seat and always asking God the important questions like, “How Long, O Lord.” In the psalms we hear the divine as we crack open the bible to it’s very middle and drink deep of our core theological identity. This 100 day devotional will cover portions of the first 100 of the 150 Psalms, leaning on Robert Alter’s translation published in 2007.

It will also open us up to the mystics. I have been studying the mystics this year as part of my Prayer in Uncertainty project, and I keep coming across this Karl Rahner quote that says, “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.” Mysticism is “the art of union with God,” as Carl McColeman describes it (whose “Big Book of Christian Mysticism” is surprisingly enticing, for a book with such a hokey title). That “union” or connection with the divine is, at least for me, the core of why Kenilworth Union gathers.

Below is a prayer from Julian of Norwich, who (according to her incredible biographer Grace Jantzen) “is full of unquenchable desire, longing for that which is yet to be brought about” (Isn’t that us, too? Longing for a future which is still yet on the horizon?). Julian “longs for God” and she is “longing to long for God.” (That also sounds like us). During her lifetime, several waves of the plague swept across Norwich, and Julian’s writings show “a deep sensitivity to suffering and dying” and “persistent questioning of why suffering should be permitted at all in a universe loved by God.” See why the mystics are calling to us? They know this road. They see us. They have words for us that speak across the centuries.

Prayer from the Mystics: Julian of Norwich (1343–1416)
God, of your goodness,
give yourself to me;
for you are enough for me,
and I can ask for nothing less than
what fully honors you.
And if I do ask anything less,
then I will always be in want,
for only in you do I have everything.
Amen.

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (Day 59) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 59 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Save me from my enemies, my God, over those who rise against me make me safe. Save me from the wrongdoers, and from men of bloodshed rescue me... They come back at evening, they mutter like dogs. They prowl around the town... My steadfast God will come to meet me, God will [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

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Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Tuesday, July 13, 2021 (day 43) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 43 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) And let me come to God's altar, to God, my keenest joy. And let me acclaim You with the lyre, O God, my God. How bent, my being, how you moan for me. Hope in God, for yet I will acclaim the Lord, God's rescuing presence and my God. An [...]

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 [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Sunday, July 11, 2021 (Day 41) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 41 (from Robert Alter’s 2007 translation) May the Lord sustain him on the couch of pain. You transformed his whole bed of illness. An Opening Word I can’t get over this phrase, “on the couch of pain.” It feels like a line out of a movie. Many English translations use the word “sickbed” instead of couch, [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Saturday, July 10, 2021 (Day 40) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 40 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) I urgently hoped for the Lord. The Lord bent down toward me and heard my voice, bought me up from the roiling pit, from the thickest mire. And set my feet on a crag, made my steps firm. And put in my mouth a new song—praise to our God. May [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Friday, July 9, 2021 (Day 39) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 39 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) ...I was mute—in silence. I kept still, deprived of good, and my pain was grievous. My heart was hot within me. In my thoughts a fire burned. I spoke with my tongue: Let me know, O Lord, my end and what is the measure of my days. I would know [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Thursday, July 8, 2021 (Day 38) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 38 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Lord, do not rebuke me in Your fury nor chastise me in Your wrath... there is no whole place in my flesh through Your rage, no soundness in my limbs through my offense. For my crimes have welled over my head, like a heavy burden, too heavy for me... I [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Tuesday, July 7, 2021 (Day 37) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 37 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Do not be incensed by evildoers. Do not envy those who do wrong. For like grass they will quickly wither and like green grass they will fade. Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and keep faith. Take pleasure in the Lord, that the Lord grant [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 (day 36) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 36 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Lord, in the heavens, Your kindness, and Your faithfulness to the skies. Your justice like the unending mountains, Your judgement, the great abyss, man and beast the Lord rescues. How dear is Your kindness, O God, and the sons of men in Your wings’ shadow shelter. They take their fill from the [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Monday, July 5, 2021 (day 35) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 35 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Unprovoked they set their net-trap for me, Unprovoked they dug a pit for my life. Let disaster come upon that one unwitting And the net that he set entrap him. May he fall into it in disaster. But I shall exult in the Lord. I shall be glad in God’s [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Sunday, July 4, 2021 (Day 34) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 34 (adapted from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) When the lowly calls, God listens and from all straights rescues him. The Lord's messenger encamps round those who fear the Lord and sets them free. Taste and see that the Lord is good, happy is the one who shelters in God. An Opening Word “Taste and see that [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Saturday, July 3, 2021 (Day 33) Katie Snipes LancasterPsalm 33 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Sing gladly, O righteous, of the Lord,for the upright, praise is befitting.Acclaim the Lord with the lyre,with the ten-stringed lute hymn to God.Sing God a new song, play deftly with joyous shout.For the word of the Lord is upright,and all God's doings in good faith.God loves the right and the just.The Lord's kindness [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Friday, July 2, 2021 (Day 32) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 32 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Be not like a horse, a mule, without sense, the bit and the reins his adornment— to keep him from drawing near you. Many are the wicked's pains, but who trusts in the Lord kindness surrounds them. Rejoice in the Lord and exult, O you righteous, sing gladly, all upright [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Thursday, July 1, 2021 (Day 31) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 31 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Get me out of the net that they laid for me, for You are my stronghold. In Your hand I commend my spirit. You redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth. I hate those who look to vaporous lies. As for me, I trust in the Lord. Let me exult [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 (Day 30) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 30 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) I shall exalt You, Lord, for You drew me up, and You gave no joy to my enemies. Lord, my God, I cried to You and You healed me. Lord, You brought me up from Sheol, gave me life from those gone down to the Pit... At evening one beds [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 (Day 29) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 29 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) The Lord’s voice is over the waters. The God of glory thunders. The Lord is over the mighty waters. The Lord’s voice in power, the Lord’s voice in majesty, the Lord’s voice breaking cedars, the Lord shatters the Lebanon cedars, and makes Lebanon dance like a calf, Sirion like a [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Monday, June 28, 2021 (Day 28) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 28 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) To You, O Lord, I call. My Rock, do not be deaf to me. Lest You be mute to me and I be like those gone down to the pit.... Rescue Your people and bless Your estate. Tend them, bear them up for all time. An Opening Word Psalm 28 [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Sunday, June 27, 2021 (Day 27) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 27 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) The Lord is my light and my rescue. Whom should I fear? The Lord is my life's stronghold. Of whom should I be afraid? ...Hear, O Lord, my voice when I call and grant me grace and answer me... Hope for the Lord! Let your heart be firm and bold, [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Saturday, June 26, 2021 (Day 26) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 26 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Judge me, O Lord. For I have walked in my wholeness, and the Lord I have trusted. I shall not stumble. Test me, O Lord, and try me. Burn pure my conscience and my heart. For your kindness is before my eyes and I shall walk in Your truth.... I [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Friday, June 25, 2021 (Day 25) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 25 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) To you, O Lord, I lift my heart My God, in You I trust… Turn to me and grant me grace, for alone and afflicted am I. The distress of my heart has grown great. From my straights bring me out. See my affliction and suffering and forgive all my [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Thursday, June 24, 2021 (Day 24) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 24 (adapted from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) The Lord's is the earth and its fullness, The world and the dwellers within it. For the Lord on the seas did found it, and on the torrents set it firm. Who shall go up on the mount of the Lord, and who shall stand up in the Lord's [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 (Day 23) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 23 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. In grass meadows the Lord makes me lie down, by quiet waters guides me. My life the Lord brings back, leading me on pathways of justice for the Lord's name sake. Though I walk in the vale of death's shadow, I [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 (Day 22) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 22 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my rescue are the words that I roar. My God, I call out by day and you do not answer, by night —no stillness for me. And You, the Holy One —enthroned in Israel's praise. In You did our [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Monday, June 21, 2021 (Day 21) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 21 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Lord, in Your strength the king rejoices, and in Your rescue how much the king exults! The king's heart's desire You gave to him, and his lips' entreaty You did not withhold. For you met him with blessing of bounty, You set on his head a crown of pure gold. [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Sunday, June 20, 2021 (Day 20) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 20 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) May the Lord answer you on the day of distress, the name of Jacob's God make you safe. May the Lord send help to you from the sanctum, and from Zion may the Lord sustain you. May the Lord recall all your grain-offerings, and your burnt-offerings may the Lord relish. [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Saturday, June 19, 2021 (Day 19) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 19 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) The heavens tell God's glory, and God's handiwork sky declares. Day to day breathes utterance and night to night pronounces knowledge. There is no utterance and there are no words, their voice is never heard. Through all the earth their voice goes out, to the world's edge, their words…. The [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Friday, June 18, 2021 (Day 18) Katie Snipes LancasterPsalm 18 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) I am impassioned of You, Lord, my strength!The Lord is my crag and my bastion,and my deliverer, my God,my rock where I shelter,my shield and the horn of my rescue,my fortress...In my strait I called to the Lord,to my God I cried out.The Lord heard from God's palace my voice,and my outcry [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Thursday, June 17 2021 (Day 17) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 17 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Hear, O Lord, a just thing. Listen well to my song. Hearken to my guileless prayer. An Opening Word I love these opening words to Psalm 17. They give us a glimpse of a person seeking God with genuine, sincere, simple, almost childlike posture. It is unpretentious, unsophisticated, asking simply, [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 (Day 16) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 16 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Guard me, O God, for I shelter in You. I said to the Lord, "My Master You are. My good is only through You." ... I set the Lord always before me, on my right hand, that I not stumble So my heart rejoices and my pulse beats with joy, [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (Day 15) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 15 (adapted from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Lord, who will sojourn in Your tent, Who will dwell on Your holy mountain? The one who walks blameless And does justice And speaks the truth in their heart. An Opening Word Who will sojourn to God’s tent? Nature lovers, camping enthusiasts, hikers, field scouts, campground hosts, wilderness guides, [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Monday, June 14, 2021 (Day 14) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 14 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) The scoundrel has said in his heart, “There is no God.” The Lord from the heavens looked down on the sons of humankind to see, is there someone discerning, someone seeking out God. All turn astray, altogether befouled. There is none who does good. There is not even one… In [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Sunday, June 13, 2021 (Day 13) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 13 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) How long, O Lord, will You forget me always? How long hide Your face from me? ...But I in Your kindness do trust, my heart exults in Your rescue. Let me sing to the Lord, for God requited me. An Opening Word Again the psalmists return to their cry of [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Saturday, June 12, 2021 (Day 12) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 12 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Rescue, O Lord! For the faithful is gone, For vanished is trust from all generations. Falsehood everyone speaks to one another, Smooth talk, with two hearts they speak. The Lord will cut off all smooth-talking lips, The tongues that speak of big things, Those who said, “Let us make our [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Friday, June 11, 2021 (Day 11) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 11 (adapted from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) In the Lord I sheltered. How could you say to me, “Off to the hills like a bird! For, look, the wicked bend back the bow, they fix to the string their arrow to shoot from the gloom at the upright....” The Lord in God’s holy place, The Lord [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Thursday, June 10, 2021 (Day 10) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 10 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Why do You stand far off, O Lord, Turn away in times of distress? In the wicked man’s pride he pursues the poor, But is caught in the schemes he devised… The desire of the poor You have heard, O Lord, You made their heart firm, Your ear listens. To [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 (Day 9) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 9 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) I acclaim the Lord with all my heart, Let me tell of all God’s wonders. Let me rejoice and be glad in You, Let me hymn Your name, Most high, when my enemies turn back, when they stumble and perish before You. An Opening Word Carl McColeman defines saints as [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 (Day 8) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 8 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Lord, our Master, How majestic Your name in all the earth! Whose splendor was told over the heavens. When I see Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars You fixed firm, “What is man that You should note him, And the human creature, that You [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Monday, June 7, 2021 (Day 7) Katie Snipes LancasterPsalm 7 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Lord, my God, in You I sheltered.Rescue me from all my pursuers and save me.Lest like a lion they tear up my life—Rend me, with no one to save me.Lord, my God, if I have done this,If there be wrongdoing in my hands…May the enemy pursue and overtake meAnd trample to earth [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Sunday, June 6, 2021 (Day 6) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 6 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Lord, do not chastise me in Your wrath, Do not punish me in Your fury. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am wretched. Heal me, for my limbs are stricken. And my life is hard stricken. And You, O Lord, how long? Come back, Lord, deliver my life, Rescue [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Saturday, June 5, 2021 (Day 5) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 5 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Harken to my speech, O Lord, Attend to my utterance Listen well to my voice crying out, my king and my God, For to you I pray. Lord, in the morning, You hear my voice, In the morning I lay it before You and wait… Let all who shelter in [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Friday, June 4, 2021 (Day 4) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 4 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) When I call out, answer me, my righteous God. In the straits, You set me free. Have mercy upon me and hear my prayer… You put joy in my heart… In peace, all whole, let me lie down and sleep. For You, Lord, alone, do set me down safely. An [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Thursday, June 3, 2021 (Day 3) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 3 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Lord, how many are my foes, many, who rise up against me. Many who say of my life: No rescue for him through God. And you, Lord, a shield are for me, my glory, who lifts up my head. With my voice I cry out to the Lord; God answers [...]

Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 (Day 2) Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 2 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation) Why are the nations aroused And the peoples murmur vain things? Kings of the earth take their stand, and princes conspire together against the Lord and against God’s anointed...O you kings, pay mind, be chastened, you rulers of earth. Worship the Lord in fear, and exult in trembling. With purity [...]

Opening

100 Day Daily Devotional
I have been studying the mystics this year as part of my Prayer in Uncertainty project...That connection with the divine is, at least for me, the core of why Kenilworth Union gathers. —Katie Lancaster