The Linnet's Wings :Take All My Loves, My Love - Page 41

The Linnet´s Wings [How odd – the law is sweeter than honey from the honeycomb! How has this thought come to seem obvious and natural?] Amid this meditation, there is an astonish- ing claim, that in contemplating God’s law the spirit soars, rejoicing the heart. God’s law differs in this from man’s legalisms, mostly dreary and unfair, and too often arming a priesthood or setting only mild limits to the aggression and greed of the wealthy and powerful. Mosaic law draws lines in the desert sands. “To honor one’s parents,” parents too must be honorable. A prohibition against lying pre-supposes a general intolerance to falsehood. People reduced to servitude have families and family feeling, and masters bear obligations to serve them well. This is lost in our jurisprudence of bits and pieces. Imagine the law school class where the test for the law is whether it brings peace and understanding to those who are subject to it. Despite the law’s majesty, we go wrong: “ But who can discern their own errors?” We are devious beings, lawyering God’s law to license our lawlessness. In our arrogance, we concoct laws for ourselves and misconstrue God’s laws, despite their perfection. Our inventiveness breeds our treachery. Psalm 19’s closing prayer brings this observation into focus: “ May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, /Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” The psalmist asks that his words and thoughts cohere so that neither casts a shadow of difference upon the other; for only then would God accept them. This is the hard rock of being, of our re demption from lawlessness that otherwise overwhelms us. Psalm 39 Our desire for the excellence of the good burdens our lives. The speaker in Psalm 19 hungers for perfection, inspired by God’s skill and law. Contemplating the perfect language of things, the speaker wrestles with the deviousness of consciousness and the gap between thoughts and words. A slip-shod life would be less troublesome; but once we grasp God’s magnificence and perfect coherence, how can we embrace something less? Jews joke they wish He had chosen others since bearing God’s demands for moral perfection is torture. In Psalm 39, one of the darkest, the poet extends this complaint and implores the Lord to leave him alone and let him breathe. Psalm 39 indicts God for afflicting our bod- [ Ten Commandments: law beyond dispute] ies, leaving us ignorant of what this pain and terror means, and then inducing guilt in us when we complain. Like Job and Ecclesiastes, Psalm 39 supposes our lives may be meaningless, and that God may be more hindrance than help bearing the absurdity of our existence. The speaker’s voice is cross-hatched with frustration; listen closely and hear Jackie Mason. 41