November 17, 2020

Thy Will Be Done

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!
Ps 104:31-35

The final verse of Psalm 104 seems to be a rather ugly intrusion into an otherwise pleasant song of praise. But I want to put it in the context of verse 31, in which the psalmist prays that God will rejoice in all the glorious works proclaimed in this psalm. And when I look back even further, I remember how this same psalmist placed human creatures in the context of all other creatures, each one in its proper place, praising God by fulfilling God's purpose.

And yet, I know that there are many human creatures that are not satisfied with what God has apportioned them, that seek to knowingly destroy creation for their own selfish ends. Those who wrote the psalms never carried out such vindictive prayers on their own. They were simply pouring out their hearts to God. And here we see a faithful servant of God, distressed that so many fellow humans sought a place outside God's created order, praying that such wickedness would end. Maybe it's not the way I would state this prayer request. But I cannot condemn it, for I, too, pray daily for a time when God's will—and God's will alone—will be done on earth. Does that mean anyone's destruction? I do not know, I simply pray as I've been taught—by Jesus, no less.

O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us. O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us as our trust is in thee. O Lord, in thee have I trusted, let me never be confounded.
✙ closing lines of the Te Deum

I pray this prayer in the Name of the One who taught me to pray: Our Father...

At the opening of this Psalm, I included a video of Arvo Pärt's haunting Te Deum. This morning, at the close of Psalm 104, I'll include Haydn's glorious Te Deum in C. Same text, very different interpretation:
This might well be my favorite piece of music of all time. Here's the complete text in Latin (and in English):

Te Deum laudámus: te Dominum confitémur.
Te ætérnum Patrem omnis terra venerátur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi cæli et univérsae potestátes.
Tibi Chérubim et Séraphim incessábili voce proclámant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth.
Pleni sunt cæli et terra majestátis glóriæ tuæ.
Te gloriósus Apostolórum chorus;
Te Prophetárum laudábilis númerus;
Te Mártyrum candidátus laudat exércitus.
Te per orbem terrárum sancta confitétur Ecclésia:
Patrem imménsæ majestátis;
Venerándum tuum verum et únicum Fílium;
Sanctum quoque Paráclitum Spíritum.
Tu Rex glóriæ, Christe.
Tu Patris sempitérnus es Fílius.
Tu ad liberándum susceptúrus hóminem, non horruísti Vírginis úterum.
Tu, devícto mortis acúleo,
aperuísti credéntibus regna cælórum.
Tu ad déxteram Dei sedes, in glória Patris.
Judex créderis esse ventúrus.
Te ergo quǽsumus, tuis fámulis súbveni,
quos pretióso sánguine redemísti.
Ætérna fac cum sanctis tuis in glória numerári.

Salvum fac pópulum tuum, Dómine, et bénedic hæreditáti tuæ.
Et rege eos, et extólle illos usque in ætérnum.
Per síngulos dies benedícimus te.
Et laudámus nomen tuum in sǽculum, et in sǽculum sǽculi.
Dignáre, Dómine, die isto sine peccáto nos custodíre.
Miserére nostri, Dómine, miserére nostri.
Fiat misericórdia tua, Dómine, super nos, 
quemádmodum sperávimus in te.
In te, Dómine, sperávi: non confúndar in ætérnum.
-------------------------------------------------------------
(We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all angels cry aloud; the heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee cherubim and seraphim continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth;
heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise thee.
The noble army of martyrs praise thee.
The holy church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;
the Father of an infinite majesty;
thine honourable, true and only Son;
also the Holy Ghost, the comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man [sic], 
thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb. 
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death,
thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants
whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy saints in glory everlasting.

O Lord, save thy people and bless thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
and we worship thy Name, ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted, let me never be confounded.)

I think my favorite section begins at 5:29 and continues to the end.

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