It’s track number 24 and the first verse: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it.”
It’s a part of a really long album called The Psalms with appearances by various artists.
The artist on this song is David, who is not a rapper but matches the stereotypes we have of them – womanizer, murderer and all-around bad boy.
He raped Bathsheba and murdered her husband, but he’s talented and we like his songs. So, like celebrities and, specifically, singers who have recently come under fire for their abuse of women, we hate the singer but love the song.
Described as “a man after God’s own heart,” I want to know exactly when this review was written (1 Samuel 13:14). But I digress.
No matter how I feel about David, he’s right. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it.” As a child, I sang, “(God’s) got the whole world in (God’s) hands.”
So, what in the world is going on?
It feels like parts of the world are slipping through God’s fingers, that the world is falling apart, that the sky is falling, raining down red flames on the heads of civilians and militants.
Rockets launched from Gaza and airstrikes from Israel have resulted in at least 67 deaths in Gaza, including 18 children, and seven deaths in Israel.
It is Israel versus Palestine or Palestine versus Israel again, a fight over land that has been going on for decades. The Jews argue that it is their ancestral home while the Palestinians claim the land as their own.
With the blessing of the international community, Britain tried to establish Palestine as a “national home of the Jewish people” through its 1917 statement known as the Balfour Declaration.
The United Nations attempted to divide the land between the two groups in 1947; however, the Jews accepted the arrangement, but the Palestinians did not.
A year later, Jewish leaders announced the state of Israel, which started a war between the two groups and resulted in hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing and the rest being forced from their homes. It is known as Al Nakba or “the Catastrophe.”
By 1949, Israel controlled the majority of the land.
Jerusalem is divided, with East Jerusalem considered an occupied territory since its capture in 1967. It is this half of the city that contains sites holy to the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith traditions.
The Palestinians are in favor of dividing the city, with East Jerusalem becoming a future Palestinian state. The Israelis disagree because Jews were not allowed to visit the Western Wall during the war in 1967.
With no peace agreement, they have continued to fight.
Presently, Israel is considered a Jewish state and Palestinians are not allowed to return. Some 2 million refugees reside in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan and surrounding areas.
No matter where they go, the two groups continue to butt heads, with other countries feeling responsible for resolving the conflict, getting in between them for humanitarian or religious reasons or to score political points.
In 1995, the U.S. Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Acts, which required the U.S. embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 31, 1999.
A provision allowed “the President to suspend for six months (with possible subsequent six-month extensions)” due to national security concerns.
These extensions were signed by every president since the act’s passage until President Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018.
Trump said the move would bring stability and perhaps peace. It hasn’t, so President Biden is sending an envoy due to concerns that the conflict will escalate to war.
Palestinians and Jews have 100 years’ worth of conflicts to sort through, with each blaming the other for their displacement and suffering.
There are no easy answers, and last week created more problems with Israeli police clashing with Palestinians on a hilltop in East Jerusalem, known as the Temple Mount.
All of this is happening during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month that begins in mid-April.
Holy city, holy time – both groups are fighting for land they believe is set apart for them by God.
I thought of Psalm 24 and then the words of Woodrow Wilson Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land”: “This land is your land / and this land is my land / from California to the New York island / … This land was made for you and me.”
I learned this song in elementary school. Guthrie wrote it in February 1940 as a response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”
Amid a pandemic, why hasn’t our tune changed?
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” we are all fighting over dirt that we belong to and that doesn’t really belong to us.
All in God’s hands, I am praying for peace because “the earth is the Lord’s and …”