Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Psalms in the Life of the Church

One of the distinct pleasures of the Sunday's in ordinary time, is the simplicity of the Psalm alone without choir anthem or other solo music.  So often the Psalm is overlooked as a real lesson and becomes mere traveling music or break between lessons.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact I believe the Psalms provide the Christian with a prayer book and song book that is deeply personal and readily identifiable for the living out of our life of faith and trust in God and His mercy.

When I ask people where they turn in times of trouble, the Psalms are generally the first tier of Scriptures which people turn to in time of distress.  This is because they generally reflect the urgencies and struggles of Christian life from the perspective of the individual going through these times of trouble or trial.  So when we sing the Psalms (or speak them) on Sunday morning, we offer folks the opportunity to frame their lives of faith in the steps of those who have gone before and to see the witness of those whose struggles caused them to review the ground of their hope in time of trouble.

So, I am happy to have the Psalms included again in all their simplicity (we use a refrain and cantor on the verses).  That is not to say I am happy the choir is on hiatus -- I am not -- but I am pleased that what we are left with is such a treasure of hope and peace amid the struggles of our daily Christian lives...


Chris said...

St. Athanasius remarked once in a letter that the psalms were the natural hymnography of the Church. And so they are.

GC said...

One question re: the Psalms being a real reading: Do you ever preach the Psalm (or Introit)?

I've done it twice this year, and I think once or twice a year might be about right. I think it can help people see the import of the Psalms.

I know some people will only preach the Gospel reading, but if you preach the OT or Epistle, why not the Psalm?


Anonymous said...

Throughout the Time of the Church in 2009 my text each Sunday was the appointed Psalm. There was often a connection with the Gospel lesson, of which I certainly took advantage, but the Psalm was my text as I preached Christ and him crucified. (I should probably note that during the Year of our Lord which began with Advent I preached on the appointed Gospel.)

Pr. Peters is absolutely right. The Psalms is a rich book. We impoverish ourselves to the extent we do not read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest also this word of God.

John Rutz