The Norman Transcript


July 17, 2014

What does a bird ‘alone on a housetop’ mean

NORMAN — Reassurance of God’s mercy

The Rev. Betty Hanna-Witherspoon, Ebenezer A.M.E. Church: This verse, Psalm 102:7, has a notation in the New Living Translation, “A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the Lord.”

The notation predisposes me to step into the anguish of an individual; one who is, perhaps, filled with despair. The urgency of this prayer makes me think that there were previous prayers.

Now the psalmist says to God “don’t turn away … bend down … my heart is sick.” All of this hurt and despair he wraps in verse seven’s image of a lone and alone bird, without the comfort of mate or flock; unable to sleep and therefore, unable to rest, be restored or renewed.

Furthermore, this bird is atop a roof, his pain exposed to the world. Other translations picture this bird as a sparrow. The loneliness of a spirit without peace, of anguish when God is not responding to prayer are not affected by the translations. The feelings in both cases easily connect to our experiences.

Despite the notation that this is an individual’s prayer, the psalmist turns from his concerns to concerns for the restoration and rebuilding of God’s people in the 12th verse.

Is the psalm a merging of two prayers, one a lament and the other a prayer of reassurance that God’s goodness will prevail?

Is the psalmist saying to us that even in the most troubled separated moments from God, there will come a time when “He (God) will listen to the prayers of the destitute, He will not reject their pleas?”

Bigger than one individual

Rabbi Mark H. Levin, founder of Congregation Beth Torah: Translating to discover original meaning of many verses in the Bible is often fraught with difficulty. This is among those texts.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Hnsen Luger Kate Hansen still riding the Olympic cloud

    Not many people can say they actually accomplished their lifetime dreams. Even less can say they did it before turning 22....

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • School roundup in its 10th year

    In its 10th year, Alameda Church of Christ and Streams of Water Ministry are ready to roll out the backpacks for the Back to School Roundup. This year’s event will be from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 9 at the church, 801 E. Alameda St. ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Two rabbis sharing their passion

    STILLWATER — Two rabbis from Brooklyn recently spent time in Stillwater meeting with Jews and reconnecting them with their traditions, rituals and heritage....

    August 1, 2014

  • In praise of lonely places

    Lexington church to host Bob Thomas Lexington Free Will Baptist, 230 W. Beech St. in Lexington, will host Bob Thomas at 11 a.m. Sunday. Thomas is the state coordinator for My Hope 2014 with Billy Graham....

    August 1, 2014

  • Trinity Lutheran finishes education wing project

    With the 2014-2015 school year quickly approaching, Trinity Lutheran School and Childcare administration and staff are excited to have two new spacious classrooms for second through fifth grades. “Last year, we had 65 students enrolled ...

    August 1, 2014

  • In praise of lonely places

    I grew up in a tough neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. The Berlin Wall was never so formidable a barrier as Woodland Avenue which separated the black neighborhood of the projects from Murray Hill or “Little Italy” as it was known. Like ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Expain Jesus’ impatience with fig tree

    The Rev. Joe Nassal, priest at Precious Blood Center in Liberty: The context provides a clue. At this point in the Gospel, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem to complete his mission....

    July 31, 2014

  • Tests of a living faith

    We recently started a study on Wednesday nights of the letter James wrote to the church. This Bible book is a practical guide to Christian living, but more than that, it really forces one to think honestly about their faith. Is your faith ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Which Bible bit is most misinterpreted?

    The Rev. Scott Gordon, Claycomo Baptist Church: Many passages vie for consideration, but the first “bit” that came to mind we find in Matthew 7:1-6 and Romans 2:1-5....

    July 24, 2014

  • CAIR-OK plans day of service

    The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) will join Mercy Youth Club and IST Youth at the fourth annual Ramadan Day of Service Saturday....

    July 18, 2014