Much of old English is awkward to contemporary ears. Some of it is poetic, such as the Psalm often read at a graveside: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” Psalm 121 is one of the “pilgrim psalms,” a collection of songs sung by ancient pilgrims to Jerusalem.
The question put to the travelers (“does our help come from the hills?”) refers to indigenous shrines on the hillsides. The pilgrims respond, “No! Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” It’s a powerful and important question, “From whence cometh my help?”
The next few posts will explore “from whence” we humans have found help living our lives–such as sacred texts, poems, creeds, phrases, visuals and music. As a prelude to these posts, enjoy the interpretation of Psalm 121 from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, linked below.