David, King of Israel, but do we have his crown in a museum? No. Mighty warrior, but is his slingshot on display for all posterity? No, again. His musical abilities were renown throughout the land, but his harp hangs not on any wall. What we have of this soul, this beloved of God, is his poetry, his psalms.
As a poet myself I am impressed, amazed, and grateful that David’s cries to the Source of the skies are still resounding. His encounters with the Lord still ring true, generations later, in every cultural context around our sun circling globe. Whether the accepted translation says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” or, “The Lord is my Mighty Herdsman, and I am as firm as a spear in the ground,” the personal sense of being cared for by the Almighty is tangible, terrific, and true.
It is unlikely David took a creative writing class to learn how to craft his declarations. His inquiries to the Lord sprang from a combination of longing and belonging. Because we have this condition, this opportunity in common, I wonder if we miss out on a degree of intimacy when we recite David’s lines in lieu of writing our own. Might not the cries of our times prove to be eternal enough to encourage the future? Surely, He who made the ear is listening with that in mind.
A modern psalm ought to be a calming balm from the assurance Jesus gives us that nothing can snatch us from the palm of His Hand. We are held, in awe, by the One we hold in awe. No matter if our mumblings sound like baby talk to us, to Our Father, like any new and forever parent, it becomes the song of ages. Get out your pencil, or crayon, and try it. Jot something down and then, lift it up. Maybe it starts out something like, “I lay my head in the Lap of the Lord…”