Nan Merrill – Psalms for Praying, Psalm 1
Blessed are those
who walk hand in hand
who stand beside virtue,
who sit in the seat of truth;
For their delight is in the Spirit of Love,
and in Love’s heart they dwell
day and night.
They are like trees planted by
streams of water
that yield fruit in due season,
and their leaves flourish;
And in all that they do, they give life.
The unloving are not so;
they are like dandelions which
the wind blows away.
Turning from the Heart of Love
they will know suffering and pain.
They will be isolated from wisdom;
for Love knows the way of truth,
the way of ignorance will perish
as Love’s penetrating Light
breaks through hearts
filled with illusions:
forgiveness is the way.
Reflection from Spiritual Director – Francie Thayer
At The Well this week, we spent time with Psalm 1. The words came from Nan Merrill’s book Psalms for Praying. Nan offers translation/interpretations of the psalms through the lens of God being Love—unending, complete, eternal Love.
I cherish this book because whenever I spend time in the words Nan offers, my heart expands, and my image of God expands too. God is infinitely greater, bigger, wiser, more loving than I, in my humanity, seem to be able to allow God to be. The nuanced naming of God in scripture points in the direction of this vastness of God but my training as a child and the way I heard the doctrine of the Church in those years results in a grounding in an understanding of God that is less vast.
So, Nan Merrill’s words bring gentle healing for me, I believe. To notice that she uses the word “Love” for the word “God”, that she does not name “the wicked” but calls them “the unloving” invites me deep within to be with God as vast, complete Love. The character trait of judgement diminishes. Yes, I have done unloving things, I have been unloving. With Nan Merrill’s words, the response of Great Love to my unloving acts becomes a response of Love, not Judgement. Tough Love perhaps and still, Love through and through.
Love prevails. And that is Good News.