Four days with old friends on the coast of Maine is tonic for the weary soul.
sometimes I feel all blue sad sorry blue all down in minor key a rhapsody in blue.
sometimes when blue begins to play in me its melody the minor turns to major key –
blue bursts into purple and, leaping into joy, a burst of sun-burst yellow pushes the blues away
and I feel un-blued almost whole, more up, a purple-yellow rhapsody, an off-beat Ode to Joy.
The days with Ted Campbell, McGaw Professor (Emeritus) of Old Testament at our alma mater, became a burst of yellow joy for us all. We awarded Ted an honorary dogtorate and made him an honorary member of the Dogs with a Goofy yellow hat.
The blues struck this week. A sense of longing. You might even say a kind of fainting.
Psalm 84 leaped up for attention, quite by accident. It’s a psalm of enormous contrasts, almost bi-polar in its highs and lows. Joy and longing sit right beside each other like first-born and second-born twins. No sooner is Praise born (“How lovely is Thy dwelling place!”) than faith’s twin, Longing, is born – the longing, the sense of estrangement that yearns to be united with the lovely dwelling place: “My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the LORD….” It is this Psalm that inspired Johannes Brahms’ Requiem, sung here by a combined choir in a lovely place in Atlanta, Georgia. Bring the blues to the music of the Psalm and see what happens.