A practice we observe in our Sunday morning worship liturgy is for the liturgist, representing the
gathered community, to begin worship with a greeting and prayer. Then the first word of scripture we
share is a reading from the Psalms.
Psalms. Defined: a book of the Bible comprising a collection of religious verses, sung or recited in both
Jewish and Christian worship. Many are traditionally ascribed to King David.
Singular proper noun: Psalms; plural noun: the Psalms
I am beginning to understand why in some Christian traditions to be fully ordained as a priest a person
must have a memorized command of the Book of Psalms. For the modern mind to hold in verbatim
memory every verse and word of 150 chapters seems an impossibility. 2,461 verses and over 40,000
words is a lot to know. I am starting to understand the benefit of being familiar with Psalms even as a
member of a culture that is losing memory as an expression of knowledge.
I hope when we start our Bible Study sessions in the autumn, in virtual meetings or in small groups, or
hopefully, sharing a meal and having much of Davis Hall filled, we should spend some time in Psalms.
I ordered curriculum for a Psalms study some time back and recently I have had a kind of revelation of
the importance of a lived connection to scripture. Yesterday I visited one of the fields of the farm I
inherited part of in Mississippi County, Missouri. Soybeans. Gumbo soil. A storm was blowing in and
the mid 90’s temperatures were dropping along with the barometric pressure. First rain, then hard
rain… then hail. Hail isn’t good for a young stand of any crop, and certainly not for soybeans.
I offered an awkward prayer. And I thought to myself, where in scripture can be found a word I may
offer in prayer? Psalm 61:1-3 “Hear my cry, O God; from the ends of the earth I cry to You,
when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you are a shelter for
me.” is a verse I looked up later. And then…
Psalm 107:29 - He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Perhaps seeking the best words in prayer is prayer enough. But what a blessing it is to have scripture
to guide prayer in all circumstances. Jesus was the example we need; Jesus knew the Psalms.
The hail settled down after a few moments, and in the continuing rain I walked out for a closer look at
the young plants: I couldn’t see any damage.
Melissa and I are posting a weekly scripture reading oriented to the Gospel lesson that we will read on
Sunday morning. I am doing a short video introduction to the week and then each day to the reading for
the day usually from the New Testament. The whole upcoming week is posted on Sunday night with an
introduction and then the daily readings. Each evening the reading and meditation for that day is
offered. It is on Facebook and our church website as an evening reflection not to compete with any
morning prayer discipline folk are practicing. Join in.
Blessings, Peace, Grace and Love, BRENT