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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Telling It How It Is - The Psalms - Allison Symes

 Image Credit:  All images via Pixabay

The Bible tells it how it is.  There is no covering up of what we are like, which is one reason why it will always be a controversial book.  How many want to cover up what we are like as a species?  How many want to cover up individual failings?  I have felt that way - and will inevitably do so countless times in the future.  It is part of being human, the part we don’t usually admit to feeling.


The Bible, as seen in many churches
One of my favourite books in the Bible is the Psalms. Every emotion is in there from joy to anger and despair.  I like that.  It is difficult at times when life is tough to be “happy” and count our blessings. 

Sheridan Voysey’s speech about memoir at the recent ACW Writers’ Day in Birmingham touched on that. We can all think of those we know who are having a tough time of it.  I never quite know whether in those circumstances those Christians are under spiritual attack or whether it is just the way life can be.  All I know is how important prayer is here and we need to be there for them with as much support as possible.

To read Psalms which are frank with God is reassuring.  The secret thoughts I don’t like to admit to, the doubts that creep in and so on, are all in the Psalms.  It is good to know others felt the same and wrote it down!

Probably the best known Psalm of them all
Writing can be healing and I hope the Psalm writers found that.  Was that the main reason for writing as they did?  How did people react when the blunter Psalms were read out?  Were they taken aback someone could be that honest?  But doesn’t that reveal so much about the writers? They are in a relationship with God.  All relationships have their ups and downs and the Psalms reflect that.

My favourite Psalms are what I like to think of as the “cheerful ones”, especially those which speak of the wonders of creation.

The Heavens declare the glory of God (and thanks to science, we can see more of them!)
“The heavens declare the glory of God”.  They do indeed.


Space Telescope
Colliding spiral galaxies
I also like the way several Psalms remember creation on land, in the air and in the seas and call on us to praise and to sing.

One lady in my church is currently reading the Psalms and making a note of how often they call on us to sing.  To date she had reached over 70 references and was I believe just under half way through.  I suspect her numbers will increase significantly given so many of what I call the cheerful Psalms are towards the end of the book!

The Psalms then are the Bible’s hymn and poetry book.  Like all good poetry, they conjure up unforgettable images.

Tarantula Nebula
Their honesty is why I think they resonate over time and with people from all backgrounds and always will.

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