Poet and songwriter Rebekah Sankey delves into matters of satisfaction and spiritual fulfillment in the form of a seven course poem in response to the theme of “meals” and Psalm 145.
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David's Psalm of praise.
1 David's Psalm of praise. I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
2 Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
5 I will speak of the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
6 And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.
7 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
8 The Lordis gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
9 The Lordis good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.
11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
12 to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lordis righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
18 The Lordis nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
As a poet and singer-songwriter, I have been drawn to the Psalms for obvious reasons. There are so many beautiful translations, but I’ve always imagined something I don’t want to miss is lost in the transfer between languages. I’ve started turning bits of Psalms into poems focused on the images and connotations of the original Hebrew words and their roots. The experience is spiritually transformative. My personal favorite is the violence surrounding “praise,” whose roots include the image of throwing stones or shooting arrows in a particular direction. How reassuring to know the violence I have felt while leading corporate worship is inherent in the action of praise itself.
So, when presented the theme of meals, the Psalms, which are satisfying to me, were the table I sat down at. I chose Psalm 145 for its expression of God’s deep joy to “satisfy the desire of every living thing” and Creation’s response to the provision of “meat in due season.” Rather than divide the call and response of the poem into the respective verses of the chapter, I consider the sections of the poem as seven (for perfection’s sake) courses of a meal. The italicized stanzas are a heart’s response to the paraphrased, image-based versions of verses 10 through 21 on the right alignment.
Rebekah Sankey graduated from The College of New Jersey with a BS in Education and English. She received her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, where she served as director for the Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival. Currently, Rebekah teaches English, humanities, and Bible courses at Eastern Christian High School in northern New Jersey. Weekly, she leads worship at a variety of churches, houses of prayer, and gatherings.