So it’s my tradition after the prayer of the day to bring a message to all of God’s children. And I want to talk about a book from the Bible that we’re going to be hearing a lot in worship over the next few months. The book is a pretty big one and is near the center of a lot of our Bibles when they’re in book form. For example, this is one of my study bibles – which is a bible full of little notes, facts, charts, and figures. This book is over 2000 pages long. When you flip to the middle, you find yourself near the end of one of the largest books in our Bible – the book of Psalms.
So what’s a psalm? That’s not a super easy question to answer because there are so many of them. In fact, the book of psalms contains 150 psalms. These psalms are songs, poems, and prayers. Some were designed to be sung when a king in ancient Israel was installed as ruler over the country. Others were written as songs to be used when people worshiped in the Holy Temple in Jersualem. A few are specifically songs of thanksgiving – saying thank you to God for all the help God has given to a person. And others are prayers asking God for help. The psalms are full of all kinds of emotions – with the writers sharing their joys, their lows, their sorrow, and even their anger. The psalms, as Martin Luther understood them to be, are designed to explore the highs and the lows in the life of faith. Those highs can be full of fun – when everything is going the way we expect them too; and the lows can be when our hearts are broken in two. “The psalms weep with those who suffer, laugh with those who celebrate, and teach all of us about the long journey of faith.” The psalms are important, meaningful, and a gift God gives us to help us in our lives of faith. And they were so important, even Jesus and those who wrote about Jesus – quoted the psalms a lot.
One way to think about psalms is to think of them like we might our favorite songs. What do you do when you hear a song you really like? You probably play it over and over again. You might sing it really loud in the car when your parents are trying to listen to something else. You might try to learn all the lyrics and maybe even share it with friends. The song is heard over and over again, becoming a part of you because you like the beat, the rhythm, and maybe because it speaks to how you’re feeling or an experience you’ve had. The psalms are like that – a gift given to us by God to let us know that God knows that life can sometimes be awesome and really hard. There are times when we need to know that God sees us, knows us, gets what we’re going through – and that there is also a song or voice we can reach out to that will show us how, no matter what, we’re loved. So I’m going to invite you to pay attention to these psalms over these summer months. And you might find some words or phrases or verses that you’ll find yourself returning to over and over again for support, comfort, and hope.
Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, 6/19/2022.