“The Psalms represent the Bible’s own spiritual root system for the great tree we call Christianity.”
“…people who pray the Psalms will be worshiping the God who made them, and one of the basic spiritual laws is that you become like what you worship. More particularly, however, it will happen because people who pray the Psalms will be learning (whether they necessarily think it out like this or not) to live in God’s time as well as in their own, in God’s space as well as in their own, and even in and as God’s “matter”— the stuff of which we’re made— as well as in and as our own.” N.T. Wright in his book, The Case for Psalms.
“…some of the most important things we want to say remain just a little beyond even our best words. The first sentence (of a Psalm) is a signpost to the deep reality; the second, a signpost from a slightly different place. The reader is invited to follow both and to see the larger, unspoken truth looming up behind. This means that not only can the effect be maintained in translation, but the effect is itself one of the deepest things the Psalms are doing, making it clear that the best human words point beyond themselves to realities that transcend even high poetic description.”
Paul speaks at one point of Christians as “God’s poem,” God’s “artwork.” We are his “workmanship,” say some of the translations of Ephesians 2.10. The Greek word Paul uses there is poiēma, the very word from which the English word “poem” is derived. God gives us these poems, the Psalms, as a gift, in order that through our praying and singing of them he may give us as a gift to his world. We are called to be living, breathing, praying, singing poems.
Those who pray the Psalms day by day … are putting themselves in the position where, when faced with a sudden crisis, they will discover close at hand a line or two of a psalm that is already etched into the heart and mind and says just what they want to say, only most likely better than they could say it themselves in the heat of the moment.
This book, The Case for Psalms by N. T. Wright, has helped me to have a deeper appreciation for this beautiful book. I’m excited to be reading it again and memorizing selected chapters. For the next 2 weeks several of us will be working on memorizing Chapter 16. I hope you’ll join us! We have memorized Chapters 1 & 8 and are moving on to 16.
My tips for memorizing these chapters are to read it several times in chunks (one chunk at a time), say it out loud and then write it without looking. Once you have one chunk memorized well, move to the next chunk and when you have that one memorized, do them together before going to another part.
I believe we will be blessed by memorizing these chapters. I’m glad we are doing this together!
Have a great day!