28 Oct 2013

A Psalm pick-me-up

Raise your hand if you have felt --

like someone understood when you read the Psalms

like God has come close

reality is drawn out and the massive sense of being drowned ebbs away...

The Psalms are an amazing collection of pick-me-ups; affirming our frailty and calling us to faith. 

Today, I share with us how the Psalms fall into four large categories; and with this knowledge, you may know better where to turn  ---

1. hymns which begin with praise and recounts God's marvel in creation and acts of redemption and end again with a praise rejoinder.

These Psalms are great for personal, family and corporate worship! You can use he beginnings and write you own experience of God's wonder in creation or list out recent experiences of His Grace. A wonderful exercise of reflecting on God's presence and goodness for every one; i imagine the little ones can easily join in the grand fun!

{8,, 19,29,33, 46-48, 76, 84, 93, 96-100, 113, 114, 117, 122, 135, 136, 145-150}

2. Laments and cries for help directly calling out to God, often with a description of the woes and troubles, a sense of God's absence in some; and a re-assertion of faith in God. In some, the faith assertion ends the Psalm abruptly or is followed by a note of thanks; signaling a change in mood.
These Psalms model authenticity and a generous dash of audacity! But who can we open the depths of our being to - who will not cringe, counter-suggest, or try to command our feelings another way? God, i once told my seven year-old nephew is like a huge sponge and He can take anything that is spilling out of us.
Personally, these Psalms are the very things that first moved me to take up pen and begin writing my heart. I haven't stopped - for God has shown what a heart can fill up with...
Interestingly, these entreaties are not all solo. Groups can come together to mourn, wail, and cry before God. 

{Individual: 3, 5-7, 13, 17, 22, 25, 26, 28, 31, 25, 38, 42-43, 51, 54-57, 59, 63, 64, 69-71, 77, 86, 102, 120, 130, 140-143}
{Group: 12, 44, 60, 74, 80, 83, 85, 106, 123, 129, 137}

3. Thanksgiving Psalms are fantastic for any season for we are a people called to the way of grateful-ness. 

Alone or with others, giving thanks deepens our faith as we lift our eyes and hearts upward.

{18, 21, 30, 33, 34, 40, 65-58, 92, 116, 118, 124, 129, 138, 144}

4. Then there are Psalms that combine the elements such that one Psalm has hymn+cry+thanks. Psalm 119 stands like a tall tower as it develops the whole idea of God's Word with the human condition weaved in; making it sound a lot like Wisdom literature (ie. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes group). Finally, there are those Psalms that clearly have a prophetic pointing-to-Christ element. {2, 50, 75, 81, 82, 85, 95, 110}. 

What a grand idea to read these Psalms during Advent {link} as we prepare once again to welcome God's Amazing gift that begin with a young couple's outrageous obedience.

  1. 1.
    the arrival of a notable person or thing.
    "the advent of television"
    synonyms:arrivalappearanceemergence, materialization, surfacing, occurrence,dawnoriginbirthrisedevelopmentMore
  2. 2.
    the first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.

Which Psalm has held special meaning for you; touched you in a deep place... I'll be delighted for you to share it here with us. 

[notes from The New Jerusalem Bible]

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