psalm 31: refuge without walls


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do i seek refuge in you or
am i just trying to hide
from my authentic self?
don’t let me use your love
as a means of escape;
don’t let me turn your
shelter into a prison
of my own making.

when i see nothing
but enemies around me,
when i start to retreat
behind walls of sorrow
and self-pity,
please don’t let me
give up on the path
i know is mine
to travel.

teach me how to use
this darkness as a shelter,
my loneliness as a companion.
show me how to turn my emptiness
into an sanctuary for your presence.
help me to build a refuge
without walls,
that i may run free
in the wide open spaces
of your grace.

6 Comments on “psalm 31: refuge without walls”

  1. Sarah Q. Malone says:

    Rabbi Brant – Your psalm poetry is just stunning. I am collecting and saving your mailings for possible future use in worship services (with full attribution credit to you), as I have typically used psalms for calls to worship or first scripture readings. And I hope you PUBLISH the collection as a volume, as I would be blessed and happy to purchase a number of copies to give as gifts to minister friends.

    Peace and blessings,

    Rev. Dr. Sarah Q. Malone,
    State College, Pennsylvania

    • Thank you so much, Reverend Sarah! Your encouraging words mean a great deal to me.

      No plans to publish yet, but I’d love to find a way eventually. Since you’ve already made an “advance order,” you’ll be the first to know! 🙂


  2. I’m really loving these.

    In this one, I especially love

    show me how to turn my emptiness
    into an sanctuary for your presence.

  3. Your line: “… help me to build a refuge without walls…”, reminds me of a line in a piece I wrote (“In the Sea of Uncertainty”). It is: “In Him, I can enjoy shelter in the storm, without needing to be in port…”, similarly saying that His provision knows no bounds or limitations. Thank you for another very meaningful psalm-poem.

    Shalom to you and yours! Beth

  4. Marc Ellis says:

    I have been reading your rendition of the Psalms with pleasure and alarm – they are hauntingly beautiful. Sad that these kind of renderings were not available to me many years ago. As our (Jewish) common life continues to degenerate, your words stand as a witness.

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