Eugene Peterson nails it...
as if he were waiting for my endorsement!
I've had my hangups reading "The Message", Eugene Peterson's translation of the Bible. It's hard for me to take it seriously when he's included things like Isaiah saying "Dude, the Lord verily sayeth...". Well, perhaps that's an exaggeration. It does seem a little too casual in places. Don't misunderstand me - I think God is absolutely delighted in this translation...but the whole thing comes off like a discussion about the fear of the Lord over pretzels and a slurpee.
Anyway, I have been consumed with the Psalms lately, especially the late twenties/early thirties chapters. I found this gem in "The Message", near the end of Chapter 29. God is a phenomenal poet.
GOD thunders across the waters,
Brilliant, his voice and his face, streaming brightness--GOD, across the flood waters.
GOD's thunder tympanic, GOD's thunder symphonic.
GOD's thunder smashes cedars, GOD topples the northern cedars.
The mountain ranges skip like spring colts,
The high ridges jump like wild kid goats.
GOD's thunder spits fire.
GOD thunders, the wilderness quakes;
He makes the desert of Kadesh shake.
GOD's thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees--we call out, "Glory!"
Above the floodwaters is GOD's throne
from which his power flows,
from which he rules the world.
GOD makes his people strong.
GOD gives his people peace.
That picture of trees dancing a wild dance - staid creatures of nature, stoical even by plant standards (compare them to flowers or Venus flytraps - surely they're not the extroverts of the plant family) - trees dancing like madmen and being pelted by raindrops the size of your thumb...slowly at first...plop, plop, plop, but then, rapid fire...rain coming so face that it's hard to distinguish between the falling of the drops....it seems as if God's turned on a four inch firehouse that strips the bark off the trees leaving the soft wood underneath exposed.
Through it all, humanity stands in a very different place with God...face upraised, rain cascading over our heads, even while He wreaks havoc on the forest, in the last phrase God is kissing us, giving His people peace and making them strong.
Go play in the rain.