28 Jun 2006

Genevan psalms

During a previous bout with depression five years ago, I was afflicted by a compulsion to paraphrase biblical psalms and arrange their proper Genevan melodies so they could be easily sung. I then posted a website devoted to the Genevan Psalter. Nothing seemed to be effective in curing this compulsion, even that class of medications known as VRIs (versification reuptake inhibitors). Now it appears the compulsion has returned. The local medical community is stumped. Here is the first symptom:

Psalm 77


I cried out for God to help me,
cried aloud that God might hear me.
When I languished in distress,
then I sought God’s faithfulness.
Through the night I reached for healing,
yet my heart refused consoling.
Thinking of my God, I sigh,
faint while pond’ring God on high.

You have kept my eyes from sleeping,
too distraught was I for speaking.
I remembered times of old,
former days have I recalled.
In the darkness do I ponder,
in my heart I can’t but wonder:
will God cast away at last?
is his love for ever past?

Have God’s mercies fled for ever?
Will his promise grace us never?
Shall we bear his wrath alone?
Is his steadfast love now gone?
This, I said, is why I’m grieving
and my happiness is leaving:
for the arm of the Most High
has abandoned us to die.

I recalled the deeds of our Lord,
marvels brought about by his word.
I reflect through all my days
on the wonders of your ways.
God, your paths are our savation,
you subdue the pagan nation.
You redeem us with your arm —
Jacob, Joseph — from all harm.

When the waters saw your power,
depths of sea before you cowered.
Torrents poured out from the sky;
arrows flashed from side to side.
Heaven shook with thunder crashes,
earth was lit by lightning flashes;
Your way led us through the sea,
where your footsteps were unseen.

Like a flock you led your people
in the midst of the upheaval,
by your servants' willing hand,
Moses, Aaron, through the land.

Text and arrangement copyright © 2006 by David T. Koyzis