My initial feeling of the Psalms is that I have never been a person that particularly enjoys poetry however, I do remember at school enjoying the metrical singing of the Psalms. There was a comforting rhythm of repeatedly singing or reading the Psalms, day after day, week after week, therefore to appreciate the images, language and emotions the Psalms can muster, they need to be read again and again, to enable the meaning of the words to enter our minds and our Spirit.
The Psalmist gives us ‘permission’ to express or vent emotions, so whether we are joyous or in despair, images are already available to us via the rich resource of the Psalms in the Old Testament.
The Psalms give us an understanding of the diverse range of subject matter related to our humanity; emotions, history , battles, relationships and creation. They help us understand the different pictures we have created about our mysterious God, for example Shepherd, Judge, Warrier, King, Guardian, Creator, Comforter Mother and Mistress. These images are not just limited to love or judgement but to the many aspects of God.
Jesus used them, in times of joy or trials, so we can assume Jesus approved of what was written, and in doing so ………..we truly touch on the spiritual dimension of Jesus.
So its here again… Lent. What do you intend to give up for Lent in 2016?
I am sure that for many people, it will a continuation of the New Year resolutions, that were set a few weeks ago. A promise to ourselves to be slimmer by forgoing chocolate; a promise to ourselves to forgo alcohol to detox our bodies; a promise to ourselves to read more to boost our IQ. Endless possibilities and all focussing on ‘self’.
Lent is a unique time where we fast (yes maybe food! ) on letting go the issues that stop us listening to God. Lent is a time where we should spend time with God, and so let’s remove some of the boundaries that hinder our listening. It’s just for six weeks…. we can manage that I am sure. Here are some suggestions
- Let go of apathy and replace with committment
- Let go of indifference and replace with passion
- Let go of selfishness and replace with compassion
Pope Francis as given a wonderful quote to help us in this Lenten task.’whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for God , no room for others and no room for the poor. God voice is no longer heard. the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt and the desire to do good fades’.
So a task indeed … I shall see you all during Lent. I hear you ask what am I doing ? I am reading and meditating on the Psalms, so look out for my posts !