The Beauty of the Psalms

Wednesday, April 1st 2020

I continue with the introduction to Psalter that I wrote last week. And I hope this will encourage your use of it!

As you will note in the “Gift of Grace Lutheran Congregation at Prayer” that we send and make available to you each week, there is a selection of two Psalm readings for each morning of the week, and two for each evening.

The Psalms are included in the Lutheran Book of Worship. They are also found in every Bible, no matter what translation you use. We promote the English Standard Version in our congregation, but through use you may be at home in another. That’s okay! Many, for instance, are fond of the elegant language in the King James Version. Use the one with which you are most at home.

No matter which translation you use, with constant use you will develop a comfort level with it. One advantage of the Lutheran Book of Worship is the pointing that allows for chanting. This is especially helpful in our corporate gatherings. Otherwise, the Psalms in any translation can be read responsively by alternating reading parts by odd and even numbered verses.

There is a knack for learning to appreciate the Hebraic poetic style, but with time and repetition the rhythm and evocative images become memorable. For encouragement, remember that the prayers of our Lord and his followers were often the words of the Psalter! And the beauty of this collection of hymnic prayers is that they cover the full range of emotions found in us. They capture our inmost thoughts and petitions. They express our laments. They even give voice to our complaints.

Especially at this time in the face of a pandemic, Psalm 46 helps me pray with boldness: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea…” it goes on. Pray it for yourself!

Since You Asked…

What are we observing on “The Sunday of the Passion?

The Sunday of the Passion mixes triumph and tragedy, the palms and the passion, observing Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem as well as looking ahead to his passion and death on the cross.

As the prelude to the Sunday of the Passion focuses on reading the Passion Narrative, the Procession with Palms provides an appropriate burst of joy which does not lose sight of the solemn goal of Jesus’ triumphal entry. (taken from the Lutheran Planning Calendar, publ. by Augsburg Fortress)

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