RIFF ON PSALM 18:1-20
I love U, O Lord my strength, * my high mountain refuge, the source of any immunity I possess.
When the earth’s crust cracks and realigns, * U are the difference between falling and floating, my safe place, and my equivalent of a monastic cell.
I call upon U, the source of being, to preserve me and those I love * from the swarming viruses around us.
In the overcrowded hospital, death washes over me in waves, * I am baptized in darkness, and I am afraid at the core of my being.
Estranged, I descend into hell; * there is nothing to restrain my fall; my slide into oblivion is irresistible.
In my desolation I call out to U, * I call out to U, for there is no other.
If U had ears, could U hear me all the way from heaven? * Ears or not, do U notice any of this?
When the earth shudders on its axis, exposing cracks in its fabric, * is that a sign of Ur taking interest?
Is the burning forest and seething wind * a flexing of divine muscles, a restless stirring of sacred power provoked into action by heedless abuse?
Ice caps cascade into a swelling sea, * and starving bears wander across garbage dumps.
Tornados blast across the plains and trailer parks.: * Is that U that swoops upon the wings of the wind?
If so, it is Ur shadow, Ur backside, so to speak, because that is most certainly Ur face coming toward me down the hall, * Ur face, shrouded by a mask.
U lift me up and change my dripping bed clothes; * U wait for me outside on the lawn, entrusting my care to anonymous angels and prayer lists.
U reach deep into the abyss and touch me beneath the failing flesh; * U bring me out into an open place, a true, beloved space.