Throughout the summer we will be venturing together into the song and prayer book of the Bible that has come to be known as “the Psalms” (or in Hebrew, tehellim). Composed over a period of five centuries, the Psalms were central to the worship life of ancient Israel, as they were read as scripture, recited as prayers, and sung as hymns in the temple and synagogues.
As ancient as these texts may be, they continue to speak into our lives and our worship. In the words of Walter Brueggemann, “They are the voice of our own common humanity…They speak about life the way it really is.” In them we find honest conversation with God: joyous exclamations of praise, gut-wrenching cries of lament, heart-felt prayers of confession, songs of thanksgiving. They help us “add a voice to the common elation, shared grief, and communal rage that beset us all.” (Brueggemann, in Praying the Psalms, Saint Mary’s Press: Winona, MN, 1993).
As we move into this season, her a a number of ways to engage the Psalms at home throughout the week:
- Begin and/or end your day by reading a psalm. Consider dwelling with the same psalm throughout the whole week.
- Spend some time recalling memories of particular psalms and their significance to you at various points in your life. Write about it and/or share your reflections with a friend.
- Rewrite a psalm. Put it in your own words as you allow it to connect with your own experience.