Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Just One Thing

wa' Doch jIH ghaj tlhobta' vo' joH'a', vetlh jIH DichDaq nej after, vetlh jIH may yIn Daq the tuq vo' joH'a' Hoch the jajmey vo' wIj yIn, Daq legh joH'a'

One thing I have asked of the LORD, that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to see the LORD's beauty, and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27.4

podcast version

wa' : Now there is an easy Klingon word to learn - it almost sounds like its English meaning: ONE. (I often tell people that just learning the number words in Klingon, or Ewok, will probably make you the most fluent speaker of that language for miles.)

"wa'" translates the Hebrew word 'echad, the same word heard in the shema - one of the most core proclamations of the Hebrew scriptures: shema Yisroel, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai 'echad - hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is ONE.

"wa' Doch ghaj jIH tlhobta'" - one thing have I asked - we hear the psalmist, thought to be David, say this and there is almost a fairy-tale quality to it. It makes me think of the "three wishes" granted by the Genie to Alladin.

What "wa' Doch," what one thing would you ask if given the opportunity? Does it surprise you that, just after talking about horrific enemies David jumps to something that may sound to our modern ears like "I really want to go to church!" ?

Why not safety? Victory? Prosperity for his family?

Well, we need to understand that David isn't just talking about a place here. The temple would not be built until after his life. If he was thinking at all of a specific place, it would be the sanctuary he put up to house the Ark of the Covenant in Gibon.

I agree with the writer who noted "David may ... mean 'the presence of the LORD.' His greatest desire was to live in God's presence each day of his life."

This Psalm echoes David's "Shepherd Psalm," with its confident "I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever." The Hebrew phrase "house of the LORD," (b'vet Adonai) in Psalm 23 is the same here.

What wa' Doch - one thing - should we seek? IF we take David's advice, we'll seek and enjoy God's presence. In the battlefields of life, that presence offers more than simple relief, for those who find that "one thing" will find an empowering, life-giving relationship not just - Hoch the jajmey vo' wIj yIn - all the days of my life - but FOREVER.

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