[The Psalms] Songs of the Soul

“Blessed, O blessed, I say
are those who walk upon a path whose steps are 
firmly planted on your eternal law,
For in that word they find their joy,
their meditation day and night,
and do not wander far to take the counsels of the worldly wise.”
Psalm 1:1 Ancient Songs Sung Anew by Lynn Bauman

When I was growing up in the little white church by the side of the lake
we sang a Psalm to begin every service of worship.
Later we would read a Psalm responsively, giving voice to praise, lament and glory.
I absorbed the Psalms, the songs of my soul. I love them.

I have two favourite Psalm books.
Ancient Songs Sung Anew: The Psalms as Poetry, translations by Lynn Bauman.
He says: “The Psalms are an invitation to pray everything we know, feel, and experience as human beings: every emotion, every aspect of the affective level of our being can be a valid subject for prayer.” (p.18)

Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness, written by Nan Merrill. Her eloquent rendering of the Psalms invite contemplative prayer. Here is her translation of the beginning on Psalm 23:

O my Beloved, You are my shepherd,
I shall not want;
You bring me to green pastures
for rest
and lead me beside still waters
renewing my spirit;
You restore my soul.
You lead me in the path of goodness
to follow Love’s way.

Praying the Psalms isn’t always lovely. To truly engage them, we need to struggle mightily with language, worldview and images of violence. It takes study, soul struggle and meditation, day and night.

And that is walking the path of wisdom called for in Psalm 1, verse 1.

Have you a Psalm verse that is a song for your soul? Will you share it in the “Leave a Reply?” Thank you. 

  “Blogging one verse from every book of the bible.

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