Living Psalm 36: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
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.
Living Psalm 36: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Psalm 36:1(NKJV) An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked …
An Oracle Within My Heart Concerning Oracles
Here is an oracular reading of Psalm 36. You have to read it as if you have come to me because you believe that God is speaking to me (and that you have paid $20 for the honor of doing so.)
Of dreams, it is said that we are everything and everyone, in ours. The thing chasing us and the us running, we are both. The thing falling from the sky, the sky, the windrush, the calculation to groundhit, the wings, the take flight, the “before it’s too late”, the “too late”, the life flashing before our eyes, the flash, the eyes and the light—everything. Each thing that is archived in the dream and brought into our knowing as memory, and each thing that fades into the backdrop and background of the dream that is lost on us and to us, all of it collapsed, are the symbols that God speaks to us through. Our questions and quests turn into symbols.
Of oracles, if you’re a really good one, God is lining up your symbols in a pattern that is made articulate by you. God is throwing God’s voice through your symbols. Your symbols become vehicles for God. You surrender control to God. You are being shown what God has seen in God’s present. God’s present is past, present and future. God shares a proprietary vision with the oracle, and that vision can only speak into it’s, the oracle’s context and into its presence. In the oracular realm, dreams are made of symbols, symbols become knowledge, knowledge becomes certainty, and certainty becomes material. The oracle and God are everything and everyone in Psalm 36.
We are the within. We are the “my”. We are the heart. We are the concern. We are the transgression. We are the wicked. We are God. We are the eyes that sees before God and we are God experiencing God’s self as unafraid of God. Everything.
Of God, alpha and omega that God is, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient that God is, the oracle is God and the oracle is God. God has to become the wicked that God has turned into history, and deliver that news to the oracle in symbols. God never gets in the oracle’s face. God is the one flattering their selves. God’s own words are wicked and deceitful. The oracle; the dreamcatcher, the dreamlanding, the dreamspeaker, translates the symbols into contemporary terms. The oracle is the God confession and the oracle is the God exoneration. The oracle is the forewarning and the forewarned. The oracle is telling God how this does not have to be God’s history.
We are told and the untold. We are the cursed and the curser. We are the lost place and the cursor. We are the erased and the eraser. We are the diminished and the diminisher. We are the lie and the lied on. We are the left out and the insertion. We are the history and the “not history” in the dream.
We are everything that God has created and everything that God has created is us. We are the inputs and the outcomes. We are the possibilities and the fixed set. We are the intrinsic and the extrinsic. Everything. The audience, the gender, the questions, the mystery—all of it. We are not outside of what we speak into the room. We are the spoken and the room. We are the evil and we are the lovingkindness that can offer itself up to evil as a way forward. Everything. We are the impending doom and we are God’s “Third Law”: For every symbolic action in a dream there is an equal and opposite symbolic reaction, namely joy, that forces these two acts upon one another. “One day,” the oracle says, “We will not create bad news to go with the good news. One day,” the oracle continues, “We will allow the joy unspeakable, to come into being. One day,” the oracle waking will say, “We will know that we are everything to God and God is everything to us.”
Living Psalm 36, for Martin Luther King Day, 2019, was written by Marvin K. White, MDiv, who is currently serving as the Interim Minister of Celebration at GLIDE Church in San Francisco. He is the Artivist in Residence and part of the Arts Program Team at the Oakland Peace Center. He was the Public Theologian in Residence (’17-’18) at First Church Berkeley and a recent Yerba Buena Center for the Arts “Equity” Fellow (’16-’17). He is the author of four collections of poetry: Our Name Be Witness; Status; and the two Lammy-nominated collections last rights and nothin’ ugly fly. He is articulating a vision of social, prophetic and creative justice through his work as a poet, artist, teacher, collaborator, preacher, cake baker, and Facebook Statustician.
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 2019 Marvin K White. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.