Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Psalms of Protest 4, 5 and 6

The second set of three in a new series, “Psalms of Protest.” This set — posted for Tisha b’Av 2018 — begin with the echo of lamentations. Those who are familiar with the news in both Israel and the U.S. will hear allusions to controversies in both nations. I’m posting these works in groups. Here are links to Psalms of Protest 1, 2 and 3.

Abuse of Power: Psalm of Protest 4
A psalm of protest,
Before broken towers of liberty,
Sung in ashes and sackcloth,
When presidents embrace strongmen,
And prime ministers sanction hatred,
When politicians defile history,
And leaders oppress the outcast.
Oh broken trust!
Oh fractured promise!
How will we rebuild the halls of freedom?
How will we restore the courts of justice?
Deliver us from oppression and tyranny,
From leaders who forget the past and ignore the future.
Let the upright rise to lead,
And the sound of joy replace these cries.

Abuse of Trust: Psalm of Protest 5
A psalm of protest,
Before the broken gates of conscience,
Sung in ashes and sackcloth,
When lies are held as truth,
And citizens go blind before despots,
When judges are appointed to oppress,
And police do the bidding of clerics.
Oh twisted logic!
Oh reign of deceit!
How will we walk the path to renewal,
Cluttered with the remnants of trust?
How will we walk the path to peace,
Cluttered with the ruins of treachery?
Deliver us from the captains of war,
From leaders who rewrite the past and destroy the future.
Let the upright rise to lead,
And the sound of joy replace these lamentations.

Restore Justice: Psalm of Protest 6
A psalm of protest,
Sung to God.
When villains rose up to destroy justice,
You drove them out like a plague upon Your land.
When evil forces rose to ensnare the nation,
You cast them in a pit.
When deceit rose up to conquer truth,
You cut the chords of dishonesty
And silenced the voice of falsehood.
How long will false leaders mock Your law?
How long will princes and potentates,
Prime ministers and presidents,
Defy Your will?
How long with corrupt judges and officers of the court,
Bid in secret with duplicity and infidelity?
How long will the innocent by subjugated?
Praise to You,
The One who restores justice,
Establishes mercy,
Frees the captive and
Brings low the haughty.
Strip treachery from the halls of power,
And cast your shelter upon the earth.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: These Psalms of Protest combine the unique form and language of the Psalmist with the prophetic voice crying out for justice.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Alden Solovy

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