To “name” God is to attempt to describe the essentially unknowable.

I am sympathetic with the Jewish practice of using “G-d” to refer to this unknowable reality. It reminds us that, when we speak of “G-d” we need to speak humbly. Language about the Divine attempts to penetrate a realm that exists beyond the capacity of the human mind. This realm is more closely approximated by poetry than reason.

The word “psalm” comes from the Greek word psalmos with its root in the verb psallein which means “to play with a stringed instrument.”  A psalm is words written expressly to be sung with musical accompaniment. Psalms are closer to poetry than intellectual formulation. We do not expect precision from poetry. Poetry evokes; it uses words to generate a feeling, to open the reader to a sensation that arises, not entirely independent of the mind, but from a realm deeper than reason and argument.

Psalms do not pretend to be systematic theology. And, even theology (theo-logos – “God-words”) is only a finger pointing at the moon. Some fingers may be more helpful than other fingers. But we do not think that because we have spent hours discussing fingers, we have adequately described the moon.

It is not entirely clear that the words “sovereign” or “lord” are helpful evocations in our current context. Both carry possible connotations of dominance, power over and coercion that do not fit well within a modern liberal democratic culture.

So how are we to hear in a way that is helpful in our current context the words “Jehovah adon” / “Lord our Lord”  ?

HP seeks in the opening verse of Psalm 8 to affirm that there is a power, an energy at work at the centre of all of life that is greater and more powerful than any human force. To describe this “force,” HP uses words that express strength and might. I am being invited here to recognize with HP that there is  a power/“God” at the heart of creation and the proper human relationship to this power is submission, a stance evoked using the English word “Lord”.

When, as a Christian I look at the person of Jesus, I see that this “power” to which I am invited to submit is the power of love and compassion.

I affirm with HP that the power of love is the dominant force of life. There is no power that can ultimately defeat love. There is no force greater than love. HP’s consistent call is to trust in this power of love at the heart of the universe and to rest in the goodness and flourishing that God intends to bestow upon all of life.

How do I see love as the dominant force in all of  life?

Lord, help me to affirm by my choices in life that I choose to submit myself to the power of love.