Living Psalms Book
Psalms in the form of words and art, reborn in the specific contexts of our world, privileging the voices of historically marginalized communities and those acting in solidarity with them.
Improv on Psalm 139
O God, you have searched me –
cancer in remission,
addiction in recovery,
incest survivor –
and known me – and you know
the not-remission, not-recovery, victim-me, too.
You know when I sit down and I rise up …
when I sit down because I’m dizzy or my knees ache,
and when I rise up too many times in the night.
You know my thoughts,
and the way forgetting makes me afraid.
You search out my marathon ambitions
and my chronic fatigue syndrome.
You are acquainted with my T cell count.
Even when I refuse a hearing aid,
you listen to me completely.
You hem me in when I wear this new diagnosis –
autism, Parkinson’s, bi-polar, MS --
and stitch for me with a calm hand.
When everybody seems to know
more about my body than I do …
such knowledge is not too wonderful for you,
nor for me when your right hand is there.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
High on a drink you are there.
Binging and purging you are there.
If I take insomnia’s wings
and settle in my cutting, my secret eating –
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say – surely Internet pornography shall cover me
and work and home and self-respect be lost --
even that lostness is not lost to you,
for hope is sure as your love
and despair becomes hope in you.
For it was you who formed me as a body –
not just a psyche, a mind, a spirit.
You knit and purled the neo-natal me,
and then all my years
you made the other kind of pearl
around the little wounds in my life.
You know the intricate and hidden weaving
of transgender, and the beautiful warp
cast on a new loom which is transition.
You know the kidney I gave away
and the breast I didn’t want to lose.
Your thoughts are weighty –
you rejoice when I lose pounds I want to lose
and you rejoice, when I celebrate
a full feisty, unfashionable figure.
You are the fashion-er of me.
O God, take from me the fashion bullies,
parents who give their kids drugs,
schoolyard cigarette sellers …
surgeons whose frozen faces protect themselves,
and the so-called friends who act like
Alzheimer’s is contagious …
sex offenders who are sociopaths,
and the self-righteous
who treat all sex offenders as sociopaths …
the killers with baby formula,
and the killers who liposuction without license.
Am I not angry with those who rise up against you?
Search me, O God, and know my heart,
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any hurtful way in me
and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen
Living Psalm 139 was written by the Rev. Maren Tirabassi.
Living Psalms Book is created by UCC Witness & Worship Artists’ Group, a Network of UCC connected artists, activists and ministers bridging the worship and liturgy of the local church with witness and action in the community.
Logo is detail from Living Psalm 80 by Sophia Beardemphl, Redwoods, CA. Recovering from significant bullying, Sophia, age nine, read Psalm 80 and thought of brokenness that needs mending. She drew this broken and mended bowl.
© Copyright 2020 Maren Tirabassi. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.