Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Forty Days of Chant, Psalm 39

Three years ago, for my Lenten discipline, I wrote an Anglican Chant for a psalm every day. I had intended to complete 40 chants for the first 40 Psalms in the 40 days of Lent.  You can see those chants in earlier posts on this blog.  Alas, I made it to Psalm 38.  Fortunately, failing at a Lenten discipline just allows us to repent and once again experience the forgiveness of God.

I'm picking up where I left off for my discipline this year.  I ask your prayers as I once again attempt to write forty chants in forty days.  Below is today's chant on Psalm 39.  I wrote a single chant that moves from c-minor to c-major because the verses of the psalm frequently express multiple emotions in a single verse.  For example, verses 5-7 expound upon the shortness and transience of life.  Then verse 8 reads,
And now, what is my hope?
     O Lord, my hope is in you.
The despairing question of the first line is followed by the assured declaration of the second.

1.  I said, "I will keep watch up- | on my ways,*
       so that I do not | of-fend | with my | tongue.

2.  I will put a muzzle | on my | mouth*
        while the wick- | ed are | in my | presence."

3.  So I held my tongue | and said | nothing;*
        I refrained from rash words; but my | pain be- | came un- | bearable.

4.  My heart was hot within me; while I pondered, the fire burst | into | flame;*
        I | spoke out | with my | tongue:

5.  Lord, let me know my end and the number | of my | days,*
        so that I may know | how short | my life | is.

6.  You have given me a mere handful of days and my lifetime is as nothing | in your | sight;*
        truly, even those who stand erect are | but a | puff of | wind.

7.  We walk about like a shadow, and in vain we | are in | turmoil;*
        we heap up riches and cannot tell | who will | ga- ther | them.

8.  And now, what | is my | hope?*
        O Lord, | my hope | is in | you.

9.  Deliver me from all | my trans- | gressions*
        and do not make | me the | taunt of the | fool.

10. I fell silent and did not | open my | mouth,*
        for surely it | was you | that did | it.

11. Take your af- | fliction from | me;*
        I am worn down | by the blows | of your | hand.

12. With rebukes for sin you punish us; like a moth you eat away all that is | dear to | us;*
        truly, everyone is | but a | puff of | wind.

13. Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear | to my | cry;*
        hold not your peace at my tears.

14. For I am but a | sojourner with | you,*
        a wayfarer, as | all my | forebears | were.

15. Turn your gaze from me, that I may be | glad a- | gain,*
        before I go my | way and | am no | more.

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