Saturday, 19 May 2012

Receiving the profound gift of the Book of Psalms

The Book of Psalms is the Bible’s most profound pastoral and liturgical gift to us, giving voice to the breadth of human experience in conversation with God. 

Book title – The Spirituality of the Psalms
Author – Walter Bruggemann 

The Psalms give voice to human experiences of orientation, disorientation and new orientation: because ‘conversation with God [is] about the things that matter most.’

Psalms of orientation reflect order and well-being. But we must ask whose interest is reflected by these psalms, for there are those whose experience is of injustice and disorder (p. 20).

We rely heavily on the Psalms of orientation for our gathered worship. This may be an act of defiant trust in God in the face of the world’s disorder. Or is it a ‘deception that does not want to acknowledge or experience the disorientation of life’ (p. 26)? Continuing to sing happy songs in the face of reality, we do what the Bible itself does not do (p. 26). Bold faith brings everything to God, for it is after travelling through the darkness that new life is experienced (p. 29).

And so the Psalms of new orientation express our experience of God’s transformation. We do not understand it, but the community does what it can – ‘It can tell, narrate, recite, testify in amazement and gratitude, “lost in wonder, love and praise”’.

The Psalms express the full range of human experience, and do so in conversation with God, who partners us in our human experience.
The Psalms help us to pray, bringing all of life to God, in order to find healing, in order to be whole.
This book is for all who seek to engage with the Psalms as a central part of the Biblical and Judeo-Christian tradition. This book is for the leaders of our community as we seek to help our congregations properly receive and use the gift that is the Book of Psalms.

Spirituality of the Psalms is available through MediaCom

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