Wherever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure vanishes from the Christian Church. With its recovery will come unsuspected power. – The Psalms | The Prayer Book of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, page 26.
I suspect that most members of the CCHF community would welcome some unsuspected power from God. Our work of living out the gospel through health care among the poor carries us from joy to despair-and to every emotion in between. This issue of H&D is about the Book of Psalms, the Holy Spirit’s collection of lyrical poems that addresses all of those human emotions.
I confess not “getting” the Psalms for many years. They were written to accompany musical tunes that have been long lost. Because I was unfamiliar with the forms and patterns of Hebrew poetry, the Psalms seemed almost like a foreign language.
But as I repeatedly read them during my study of Scripture, I began to feel their rhythms and patterns. Feel, I say, because the Psalms are musical poems that speak more to our hearts than to our heads. Through praying and meditating on the Psalms, we can learn more than doctrine and truth; we can learn the heart of Jesus Christ.
This issue features six contributors. Bob Sayson introduces the Psalms and exposits the truths of Psalms 1 and 2. Next, Erin Dufault-Hunter and Renee Lick both tackle the most common type of Psalm, the Lament. Laments are poems of complaint and frustration, where the sufferer cries out to God for explanation and relief. The two essays complement each other: Erin writes from the perspective of a theologian and educator, Renee from that of a clinician. Renee's piece is excerpted from an article first published in the Journal of Christian Nursing. Barb Carlson, a mental health professional, has contributed a modern-day lament poem.
Kali Shephard, a gap year intern who will enter medical school next summer, has written about the little-known Psalms of Ascent sung by pilgrims as they journeyed to Jerusalem for the three annual feasts.
Lastly, I’ve written about the Psalms of David and what they teach us about David, about Jesus, and about ourselves.
This is the second online version of H&D. We hope that you’ll read all the essays, comment on the ones that stir or disturb you, and share them liberally with your real and digital friends. More importantly, we hope that you’ll delve more earnestly into the Church’s incomparable treasure that is the Book of Psalms.
I suspect that most members of the CCHF community would welcome some unsuspected power from God. Our work of living out the gospel through health care among the poor carries us from joy to despair--and to every emotion in between. This issue of H&D is about the Book of Psalms, the Holy Spirit’s collection of lyrical poems that addresses all of those human emotions.