300 words

When I said I needed to find some words for this post, Nancy said, “300 words.”

After my nap, after her nap, after giving up on watching a couple things, I said, “I don’t know what to say.” She said, “I told you. 300 words.”

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I’m teaching again a course in Spiritual Formation. As part of this course, we do long reads from the Bible. Rather than a sentence or a paragraph, we read a large chunk, all at once, out loud. (An explanation). It’s the way most of the sections were experienced first, whether the letters (dictated, and read aloud) or the psalms (sung or spoken) or some of the stories (told around campfires).

Last Thursday, we sat in a circle and took turns reading Psalms 120-134. One of us read a psalm, we paused, and then someone read the next one. As the words came from different parts of the circle, we were in the text, in the story, in a different way than simply reading with the voice in our head.

And I cried a little, more than once.

I wrote about these psalms eleven years ago last week. Now I’ve lived with them for another decade, for more than 35 years. I’ve heard them, written about them, thought about how Jesus sang them while going up to Jerusalem as a twelve-year-old, as an adult, on his way to die. I’ve delighted in the imagery, in the group call-and-response.

It is almost as if these traveling songs of Israel have become my own songs for travel.

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I wish I knew them better, that I memorized them, that I had the nerve to make them be all I read for a month. In English, they are less that 1700 words. Not so much. After all, this was 300.