Friday, September 15, 2017
In the book of Psalms there is one that speaks of singing the Psalms of Zion when the children of Israel were in captivity. As I read this recently, I saw something different than I had seen before. In the dysfunctional group I was in, this scripture was used to capture and portray that the only place to be was in that group and anywhere else is captivity. The leader used to say ‘You can’t sing the songs of Zion in a strange land…’ Meaning to depart the group would be leaving Zion. But as context is considered, the argument seems flipped and as so many times before, quotes and verses used out of context to make a point that bends truth to the group’s mindset. Actually, the scripture is about the captives of Babylon that could not sing about Zion because they were not there, they were captives of an oppressive master. It was their origin and source of all they are that was now dried up. It goes like this:
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
Below are my thoughts on the proper context:
This scripture I have heard a thousand times used to separate people from their kin. The premise was ‘you have a new home’, ‘you have a new family’. ‘Forget the old ways and embrace the new.’ ‘The past was a drag on who you are now. Embrace the new and become the new’. Little did I realize then how this could never be. Why? It is an artificial life filled with busyness and activity to distract while life hurls by at a break-neck pace. This tactic is so similar to Scientology’s strategy, it is almost the same. The idea is to keep the patrons so busy with achieving rungs on a ladder, all sense of true importance (family, personal goals, etc) are sacrificed to the cause. In this blur of industry, activity and huge sums of money being fleeced, One year becomes three becomes five and ten. You look in the mirror as a youth and turn again to see the crows foot and wrinkle with a weaker eye. You strain to see what once was and there is only a glimpse caught at the right angle and in the passing swirl of motion as you peer closer. What is it that you see and feel at that moment of remembrance? It is the man or woman boy or girl that you once were before all the industry and kingdom building. It is the hope of a bright future and outlook of a coming life now jaundiced by industry and effort the leads to yet more of the same. The songs you once played now are but a distant recollection and you can barely remember how the tune goes because the din of the cadence of the new song permeates everything and drowns out who and what you once were. Soft and suppleness has been tanned into strong cords of self-pride bordering on arrogance and the freedom once felt is now constrained by the life you have committed to live.
Why is this shadow of recollection on your life? Why will you not let go of it? Because it is the song of Zion. The song of where you come from and mountain from which you were carved from.
The real you.
This is my story and the story of my children albeit they would never admit it. To leave that is to leave oneself and be cast adrift in a sea of ambiguity and complicity. Take a step back for a moment and look at your hands. Who do they remind you of? Are they your father’s or mothers? Is the squint and smirk you possess manufactured in the life you have embraced or are they from something deeper and more permanent? When you cannot sleep and your thoughts fly, to what and to whom do they fly to? These are the sounds and chords of the songs of Zion the songs of Home where love is plentiful and unending and where laughter and mirth at the meeting are more intoxicating than any other potion, song or incantation.
The songs of Zion cannot be sung in a strange land no matter how it is portrayed. Why? It is a land of captivity no matter how well dressed and ensconced it is. The harp remains on the willow tree and with some it will remain until they breathe their last breath. Taking the full brunt and volume of regret to let all that is real pass.
Only do not call yourself full because of your industry, your credo or dogma. They cannot fill you. It is only the love of those from where you were hewn who can fill that void. To believe anything else is a lie. To call yourself full when you are nothing but a hollow man.