Some of my random thoughts on the number 40 today.

How long to sing this song?

While in junior high Live: Under a Blood Red Sky by U2 became one of the first cassette tapes I ever purchased. I picked it up when we stopped at Pickles, a long-gone local music store, during a family trip one weekend to Lincoln, Nebraska. It contained only eight songs and wasn’t very long, under 35 minutes, and I bought it because I loved the song “New Year’s Day” I suppose because I was born on that day, though the song had little to do with that. The band had not yet reached the dizzying heights of superstardom that they’d eventually climb, but you could sense it in these songs.

The one that stood out the most to me even then was the final track on Side Two: “40”. While not long on lyrics I could feel “something” there and obviously the crowd did too as they continued to chant the refrain long after the band had stopped playing. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the song is based upon a portion of the 40th Psalm. The band still closes its concerts almost thirty years later with the same song.

40 – U2
I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He lift me up out of the pit
Out of the mire and clay

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long…how long…how long…
How long…to sing this song

He set my feet upon a rock
And made my footsteps firm
Many will see
Many will see and hear

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long…how long…how long…
How long…to sing this song


“A deep abyss”

Psalm 40:1-5

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods! Thou hast multiplied, O LORD my God, thy wondrous deeds and thy thoughts toward us; none can compare with thee! Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be numbered.

In his book The Divine Office: Explanation of the Psalms and Canticles by Saint Liguori, he says of Psalm 40:2:

These expressions denote, according to Hebrew text, as Bellarmine remarks, a deep abyss, without light, filled with filthy mud, in which have fallen and flounder confusedly a miserable multitude; such are those that are plunged into the mire of their carnal appetites.

In Verse 2 we see the depth of God’s goodness in that He finds us in the pit and the bog, and we see the height of his goodness as he brings us out and sets our feet upon the rock of Christ. Those feet are faith and hope. He places our feet on a way that is not only solid, but also straight; and thus he guides our steps when we trust in Him.

(Note: I long-ago obtained the 540 page PDF file of Liguori’s somewhere long since forgotten. It was published in 1888. He cites St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Book of Psalms, a wonderful book that I purchased last year to assist in my Psalms-related project.)


Christ in the Wilderness. Painted by Ivan Kramskoi (1872)

Christ in the Wilderness. Painted by Ivan Kramskoi (1872)

The Number 40 in Scripture

In Sacred Scripture, the number forty is a sign of penance:

  • God made it rain for forty days and forty nights in the days of Noah (Gen 7:4 – by the way they only ate fish on the ark, not meat)
  • Moses spent forty days fasting on Mount Sinai with God (Exodus 24:18)
  • The People of Israel people wandered forty years traveling to the Promised Land (Numbers 14:33)
  • Elijah spent forty days and forty nights walking to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8)
  • Jonah prophesied forty days of judgment for Nineveh to repent (Jonah 3:4).
  • Jesus fasted for forty days days in the wilderness, and was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-2)
  • Jesus was also in the tomb for about forty hours.

Source: Canterbury Tales blog


A Tragic Anniversary and message to both political parties

40 years ago today the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion. While I could go any number of directions in noting the passing of this sad date I’ve just a few facts from Planned Parenthood themselves for citizens on both sides of the political aisle.

In 2011 Planned Parenthood:

  • Performed 333,964 abortions, generating an estimated $150 million in revenue.
  • Over the last three years they have eradicated 995,000 pregnancies, or killed 1 baby every 94 seconds.
  • Provided 2,300 adoption agency referrals, or 1 adoption for every 145 abortions.
  • Received $542.4 million from U.S. taxpayers, or 45.2% of its $1.2 billion total annual budget.
  • Performed zero mammograms.

Source: Planned Parenthood 2011-2012 annual report


Take a look at this graph as I want to point out something to Republicans. Note the increase that occurred from 2001-2006. Why do I point that out? Those are the years that we had a supposed “theocracy” in America and Republicans controlled all three branches of government. Remember this the next time a Democrat politician, friend or special interest group tries to scare you or others into voting for a Democrat because Republicans will eliminate funding to PP and overturn Roe v. Wade. But also remember this the next time the Republican National Committee sends you a fund raising letter raising the alarm over a liberal agenda and abortion. Let the RNC and DNC know that babies, their mothers and their fathers are not political footballs to be used once an election cycle.

And for my Democrat friends: “Safe, legal and rare?” Cut the bullshit. PP is a huge money-making machine for your party that allows them to donate campaign funds to like-minded politicians and bully groups like Komen. “Women will die!” was the message yelled from the rooftops, supposedly because losing the tiny sliver of funding from Komen would mean they would have no money for women’s healthcare. This noble “not-for-profit” behemoth would not have “excess revenue over expenses” In other words, a profit.

In 2010-11 the profit reported by PP was a record $155.5 million, while in 2011-12 they reported an excess of $87.4 million. So just what was the 2011 funding amount from Komen that “threatened” women’s healthcare if it had been cut off? $680,000 or .056% of their budget, and 0.78% of their excess revenue over expenses.

“Women will die!” And they do. At least 50% of the abortions performed by PP were girls, future women cut down before having a chance to draw a breath. Planned Parenthood begins the 2011-2012 report by making the absurd claim that “This past year will be remembered as the year Planned Parenthood declared its commitment to making the next generation the healthiest ever.” Unless of course you were among the 333,964 dead. You can’t get sick in the grave I guess.

How long to sing this song?

Graph source.


40 Questions

Michael Spielman posted 40 Questions to Ask on the Anniversary of Roe vs Wade. There are ten each for abortion supporters, abortion opponents, Christians and for church pastors and elders.


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