Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Stars in Their Courses

Long ago, and far away (I feel a song coming on) in the days when I attended church, I was asked to read the lesson at a service held on a certain "Youth Sunday". I've never forgotten the Bible text I was asked to read - it was from the Song of Deborah in chapter 5 of Judges in the Old Testament. When I look at the text now I wonder why it was thought appropriate for such an occasion. It's the story of a battle, and how the Israelites overcame the Canaanites with the help of their judge and prophetess Deborah. One line from the text often slides into my mind:

"The stars in their courses fought against Sisera"

I don't know whether those words refer to anything astrological, or whether they relate to the storm which occurred during the battle and assisted the Israelites, or perhaps both are interwoven ? Whatever the relevance, I find it somehow uplifting that the reference has never been "adjusted" by ancient or modern censors. The Song of Deborah is one of the oldest texts in the Bible. I'd like to think that Deborah was an astrologer as well as judge, prophet and lady of some strength, and that all those years ago I was reading astrology in church!

Singing about winning a battle has mercifully gone out of fashion. Songs now are more likely to be a cry for PEACE than celebration of victory in battle.

No comments: