There are some Books in the Bible I look forward to reading. I have often read the Bible in a year in a variety of ways; from Genesis to Revelation, in alphabetical order, and in chronological order. I have started with the Gospels and spent the first ½ of the year in the New Testament, then moving to the Old Testament. I have read these Books in the order they are presented in my Hebrew Bible as well as the order in our Christian Bible.
One of my favorite Books is the Psalms. 150 ways that we can speak with our Lord in prayer, praise, song, and lament. Some are written for David, others by him. From the shortest (117) to the longest (119), the authors express how they are feeling when they composed these verses.
Although the 23rd Psalm is probably the most well-known and often recited one, my favorite is the 32nd Psalm. Through the Psalms, we are invited to be still and know that the Lord is with us. Psalm 136 celebrates that God’s steadfast love endures forever through God’s work in creation, in history, and today. The words of Psalm 139:13-14 tell us how precious each of us is to our Creator (“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. (NRSV)).
I speak with our Lord daily and strive to pray without ceasing. Sometimes the prayers I lift up come directly from my heart and soul. Other times I reach for the Bible and read one of the Psalms because the author has found the words to say, that in the moment, I cannot.
As we prepare for Holy Week, I can’t help but imagine how, as Jesus entered Jerusalem, people greeted him with the words of Psalm 118:26: “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” And as we move toward Good Friday, and we recount the 7 Last Words of our Lord and Savior, know that one of them comes from the 1st verse of the 22nd Psalm: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
In this one Book, there are 150 ways that we can express where we are on our journey with our Lord. Our anger, our sense of loss, our grief, fear and frustration are all spoken about in these verses. There are moments of absolute joy and praise, as well as wonder at how our Lord’s steadfast love endures forever. Each day, in our prayers, in our conversations, and in our reflections, may we continue to celebrate who we are and whose we are. I close with the words of the 150th Psalm as we prepare for Holy Week. And Amen.
1 Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.