Some four decades ago, as a young teacher, I had the privilege of attending an inservice training course on choral music which was led by Malcolm Williamson. As part of that day, we learned that setting of Psalm 121, along with several of his cassations intended for performance by schoolchildren. It was a most influential experience which I carried with me for the rest of my teaching career.
Anglican Parish of Mount Vincent and Weston
Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA
31 March 2014
These are the first two verses of Psalm 121:
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From whence does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Although as I learned the "truth" about Psalm 121, I was told it would never make any difference, because everyone wanted to create the connection that the help we seek comes from someone or something in the hills or mountains.
Nonetheless, the truth as I learned it is quite simple:
1. The first verse means: I look up at the hills, (but) from whence comes my help?
2. The second verse means: My helps comes not from the hills, but from the Lord.
The word "but" is simply to be understood by the question as it is being asked -- Does my help come from the hills? That's where I've been looking.
The answer is, No, it doesn't come from the hills, it comes from the Lord.
This will make utterly no difference to the zillions who have enshined this thought in their memories. But maybe it should.
And maybe A.O. could lead the crusade!
St Philip of Neri
31 March 2014
(Editor: you might be right.)