Psalm for a Troubled People

The psalmists, like the prophets, served as communication links between the people and their God. They prayed for the people, and they spoke to their souls.

Psalm 90
New Revised Standard translation

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”

For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night. You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning; in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are consumed by your anger; by your wrath we are overwhelmed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance. For all our days pass away under your wrath; our years come to an end like a sigh.

The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Who considers the power of your anger? Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.

Turn, O Lord! How long? Have compassion on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.

Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands— O prosper the work of our hands!

Photo of a flower

Reflection by Deborah Beach Giordano
August 14, 2017

Psalm 90, reinterpreted

Almighty God,
in You we live and move and have our being.
Before the mountains arose,
before the seas brought forth life,
from everlasting to everlasting, You are.

When we die, You return our bodies to dust,
saying, “Have some perspective, you mortals.”

For You a thousand years pass in the blink of an eye,
or like a night of sleeping.
You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
like poppies that bloom in the morning, full of life and color;
in the evening their heads droop and their petals are scattered.

Laying claim to Your authority,
we have placed ourselves in the Judgment Seat,
disregarding the demands of mercy and compassion.

Our uncontrolled aggression rises up against us;
its horrifying visage stares us in the face.
Our boundless hatred and unending desire for revenge
overwhelms us;
we are consumed by our anger.

You have made plain to us
all the evils we have done;
no secret can be hidden from Your Light.
We are destroying ourselves with our rage,
filling our lives with sorrow and sighing.

We may live seventy years or so,
perhaps eighty, if our health endures;
even then these are soon over.
How can we be so foolish as to waste them?

Who considers the strength of anger?
Wrath can kill and destroy;
its deathly power contaminating all it touches.

Teach us that our time here is short,
that we may dedicate ourselves
to loving and serving You.

Turn our hearts, O Gracious One!
How long must this continue?
Have compassion on Your children!

Let us find contentment each day in Your faithful love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad
all our lives.

May we live in peace
for as many days as we have dwelled in anger;
may our world be alight with compassion
for as many years as it has burned with hate.

Let Your love show forth in our lives,
and its glorious power upon generations to come.
Strengthen us, O Holy Beloved,
that we remain faithful to the task which lies ahead,
and let our work be a success
— O let our work be a success!


Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,


Suggested Spiritual Exercise

Reflect on this Scripture passage:

You’ve been told, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? ~ Micah 6:8