OMG, what shall we call you?!

steps-descend-Enlarged-My-Steps-Psalm18.36Where art “Thou”?

Call me old-fashioned, but I surely did like the use of “Thou” in reference to the Holy, indescribable One – GOD, the LORD.  It’s a perfect word, too, for poetry and narratives, especially the romantic ones.  Pronoun cousins, “thy”, “thee”, and “thine” have also had to go to the heap of archived language!  Can you imagine how hamstrung Shakespeare would have been if only “you” and “yours”, and maybe, “you all”, or “ya’ll” had been his lot?  Or, the loss of the Bible translations if William Tyndale’s version or the King James version had gone with “Hey, you!”, or “you guys”?!  Maybe, they could have even splattered the word palette with an “OMG!” to spice up the Psalms?!

Language changes and cultures shift; kings and kingdoms come and go, but our strength remains sure in the One who is truly beyond “You”.  I cringe when hearing “Christian music” on the radio these days – the constant whining of “me” and “You”, sung much like a teenage boy might sing (if he could!) to his girlfriend.  In many contemporary worship services, “You” (God, the Lord) is reduced to a sappy love song with repetitive verses, over and over again.  At least, in the old hymns of the churches there remains some sense of “Thou”, with no easy slide into a casual pal and lover kind of relationship with God (Yes, I guess I am of an older vein!).

Words fall so short in expressing the divinity, the mystery, the humanity, the intimacy – and so much more!  The Hebrew prophet Isaiah described the Presence in this way, “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15).

Psalm 18:36 proclaims (King James Version):  Thou has enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.”  I’ll keep a special place for “Thou” in my longings … for “Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory”, and I will worship “Thee” all the days of my life.  “How great Thou art!”

Stuart Swann


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