Psalms of Protest 7 to 10

Sunday is the first anniversary of the neo-Nazi “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va, which is the impetus behind Psalm of Protest 7. Psalm of Protest 10 reflects the structure of the Ashrei, with an acrostic as the core stanza. Here are links to Psalms of Protest 1, 2 and 3 and Psalms of Protest 4, 5 and 6.

Bigots in the Streets: Psalm of Protest 7
A psalm of protest,
Sung at the gates of decency,
When bigots stalk the streets,
When racism is flaunted in the public square
And hatred is embraced in the courtyards of power.
Open, you gates!
Let virtue and civility pour forth
To drown the voices of malice and rancor,
To flood the hearts of bitterness
With love, tolerance and understanding.
Let the voice of unity
Find purchase in the hearts of racists and fanatics.
Let decency flow forth like living waters,
To heal the heart of hatred.

Cruel Oppression: Psalm of Protest 8
A psalm of protest,
Sung at the gates of mercy,
When callousness pursues the helpless
And cruelty is cloaked in righteousness.
Open, you gates!
Open to the cries of the oppressed,
The immigrant, the refugee,
The hungry and the orphaned.
Bereft by the hands of governments,
Despots and their ministers,
Bereft by war and violence,
Abandoned and despairing.
Open, you gates!
Let mercy flow forth like living waters,
To heal the heart of misery.

Sexual Abuse by Political Leaders: Psalm of Protest 9
A psalm of protest,
Sung at the gates of virtue,
When leaders assault women
And accuse their victims of immorality,
When legislators grope boys
And blame their prey of deceit,
When presidents mock the molested and their advocates.
Open you gates!
Open to the cries of the abused,
Open to the cries of the injured and the scorned,
Traumatized by the leaders of governments,
Traumatized by the heads of colleges, universities and schools,
Traumatized by the stewards of religious institutions.
Open you gates!
Let virtue flow forth like living waters,
To wash away rape, abuse and sexual assault.

To Battle Injustice: Psalm of Protest 10
Happy are the ones who battle injustice,
For whom the world sings praises.
Happy are the ones who stand united,
Their voices become a trumpet of truth.

A psalm of protest.
Admonish the ruler who misuses power.
Beset an evil government with judgment.
Call the people to the streets.
Dispatch the brave and the free in cries of protest.
Entreat the spirit of mercy.
Forge a sword of truth.
Grievance is your staff and
Honesty is your shield.
Injustice will shatter like pounded rock.
Joy and hope will grow roots in its place.
Keep yourself true,
Letting neither anger nor vengeance become your cause.
Make not an ally of violence,
Nor a friend of hatred.
Open your heart to all.
Protect the innocent,
Quiet the hearts of the victims,
Restore kindness to our nation.
Speak out, speak out.
Tomorrow rise to speak out, again.
Until all of us are free from tyranny, free from the
Vulgarity of power abused.
Your voices raised, Your feet marching, to the
Zenith of tikkun olam.

Happy are the ones who battle injustice.
For their hearts will be sanctified in heaven
And remembered on earth.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and 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. Psalms often build upon one another, expanding or focusing a theme, which is true for this series, as well. As a result, I’m posting these works in groups.

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.

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