The Linnet's Wings :Take All My Loves, My Love - Page 40

The Linnet´s Wings than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. 11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (New International Version) 14 The poet’s spirit is aflame with what he sees. His images are bold, verging on Nature worship, forbidden to Hebrews: Dawn is a bridegroom emerging from his chamber, “a champion rejoicing to run his course.” The sun paces the heavens with the power of a heroic young man; after a night of love-making, the hero runs his race in the celestial stadium. Humankind enjoys the heavenly splendor, the daily drama of the sun’s course across the sky, but in addition, God shaped our minds to grasp this in dynamic images. Poets always fail proscriptions against graven images, against figuring God through the senses, the one world we know. Before the tedious procession of words, there is the flash of images that brings all this home to us. God’s heaven demonstrates His creative force, as does our erotic and athletic joy, and the secret other languages that drive home God’s handi- work. While thankful for bodily joy and imagination, the psalmist identifies a more surprising gift. The mate- rial world and our imaginative apprehension of it are wonders, but God’s law is His supreme gift. Heathens experience the glory of physical being, but for Jews God’s law supplies the scaffolding for freedom. The law, so often resented as limiting our freedom, is precious beyond measure: “refreshing the soul”; “giving wisdom to the simple”; “rejoicing the heart”; and “enlightening the eye.” A just law makes us rejoice, but unjust statutes make us bitter. The law, considered abstract and bloodless, is rarely the focus of poetry. While the law is a marvel of intelligence, the law also entices us to consider the confused creature we are and guidance we need. But how does the law “refresh the soul” and “rejoice the heart”? God’s law is “perfect,” “trustworthy”, “right”, and “clear.” Our world swarms with possibilities, endless and multiplying desert pathways, headed everywhere. In this anxiety of multiplicity, God’s law is certain. The soul sinks easily into doubt; the law’s perfection revives the spirit with comforting reassurance. What better proof of a loving God; and how rarely we notice! The law warns us of errors, rewards us for following the true path, and supports our best interests and those of the community. For the psalmist, the law’s wealth is beyond gold; it is sweeter than honey from the honeycomb. Psalm 19 thinks sensually, savoring the law’s sweetness on the psalmist’s tongue. 40