Pesukei D’Zimrah for the Nine Days & Tisha B’Av 3
Ashrei: Singing to Heal: Singing so We Can Sing More:
“Now the spirit of God had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from God tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from the Lord is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from the Lord comes upon you, and you will feel better.”
So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”
One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And God is with him.”
Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”
So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.
David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers.
Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”
Whenever the spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him (I Samuel 16:14-23).”
Psalm 146: Finding the Small Things to Discover God
Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower -but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson; Flower in the Crannied Wall)
“The Maker of heaven and earth,
The sea, and everything in them
Who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
And gives food to the hungry.
God sets prisoners free,
God gives sight to the blind,
God lifts up those who are bowed down,
God loves the righteous.
God watches over the alien
And sustains the fatherless and the widow,
But He frustrates the ways of the wicked.”
The verses transition from, “Maker of heaven and earth,” to the hungry, blind, widows and orphans. We praise God to Whom the flower in the crannied wall matters as much as the heaven and earth. We commit ourselves to look for the small signs of His love and creation, so that we can better “Know” Him.
Psalm 147: Healer of the Brokenhearted so They Can Sing
For the truth itself,
That’s neither man’s nor woman’s, but just God’s;
None else has reason to be proud of truth:
Himself will see it sifted, disenthralled,
And kept upon the height and in the light,
As far as, and no farther, than ’tis truth;
For,-now He has left off calling firmaments
And strata, flowers and creatures, very good,-
He says it still of truth, which is His own.
Truth, so far, in my book;-the truth which draws
Through all things upwards; that a twofold world
Must go to a perfect cosmos. Natural things
And spiritual,-who separates those two
In art, in morals, or the social drift,
Tears up the bond of nature and brings death,
Paints futile pictures, writes unreal verse,
Leads vulgar days, deals ignorantly with men,
Is wrong, in short, at all points. We divide
This apple of life, and cut it through the pips,-
The perfect round which fitted Venus’ hand
Has perished utterly as if we ate
Both halves. Without the spiritual, observe,
The natural’s impossible;-no form,
No motion! Without sensuous, spiritual
Is inappreciable;-no beauty or power!
And in this twofold sphere the twofold man
(And still the artist is intensely a man)
Holds firmly by the natural, to reach
The spiritual beyond it,-fixes still
The type with mortal vision, to pierce through,
With eyes immortal, to the antetype
Some call the ideal,-better called the real,
And certain to be called so presently,
When things shall have their names
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning; Earth’s Crammed With Heaven)
Psalm 148: Each Creation Has Its Song
Let this day’s air praise the Lord—
Rinsed with gold, endless, walking the fields,
Blue and bearing the clouds like censers,
Holding the sun like a single note
Running through all things, a basso profundo
Rousing the birds to an endless chorus.
Let the river throw itself down before him,
The rapids laugh and flash with his praise,
Let the lake tremble about its edges
And gather itself in one clear thought
To mirror the heavens and the reckless gulls
That swoop and rise on its glittering shores
(Robert Siegel: Rinsed with Gold)
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