Songs of faith – introduction
This week’s blog post is later in the day than normal and will be fairly brief. It starts a new series in which I’m planning to look at some of the psalms (who knows, I might end up doing all 150!) The style of these posts will be more devotional than recent series. I encourage you if you read to take time to read over the psalm in question before you read my comments and to chew over it (meditate is the technical term) throughout your day.
The psalms have long been a key book in the devotion of God’s people throughout the ages. Within Israel they were the nation’s hymnbook, used in the worship of God in the Temple. They expressed the highs and lows of the nations moods, ranging from the depths to the highest of heights. They blend together the corporate (‘we’) and individual (‘I’) dimensions of praise and chart the path of living faith as it winds through life’s challenges and questions. Their constant orientation is towards God and they paint a picture of a faith that is real, gritty and powerful.
No wonder these songs inspired Christian believers too. Their place in the corporate life of the Church has varied – in some traditions only psalms are sung, in others they are less prominent, although their words often turn up in modern praise songs. In my personal life the psalms have proven a rich source of inspiration. They have brought me provocative comfort and comforting provocation. They draw me out of introspection and redirect my attention to the majesty and mystery of God.
As this series begins, I have one simply prayer for those who may read what I write. My prayer is that you will be inspired in some way by what you read so that in some way you may increasingly join in with the chorus of all creation that is described in Psalm 150. That short conclusion to the collection of songs is a challenge to everything and everyone that has the capacity to do so to find every means to give God praise. May you be challenged and helped by these amazing, divinely inspired poems to lend your breath to the chorus of creation. Praise the LORD!