During the month of May, all of us at Holy Cross (adults and kids) are turning our attention to a book of the Bible which has had more of an impact on the church’s life of prayer and worship than any other: the book of Psalms.
The Psalms are a vital witness to the joys and challenges of the people of God, full of extraordinary poetry, great wisdom, and an extreme range of feelings. (Incidentally anyone who thinks that contemporary worship songs are too me-focused and too emotional to be good theology should take a look at a psalm or two!)
And crucially for us as Christians, the Psalms give us access to the worshipping life of Jesus himself. Born and raised as a pious Jew in a Jewish family, Jesus “grew in wisdom and divine favour” (Luke 2:52) by memorising these ancient texts. Indeed, some of the most ancient psalm chants (such as the Tonus Peregrinus) which are still sung today have their roots in 1st century synagogue worship. They are, literally, the words and music that Jesus would have sung.
So let’s take time this month to explore this mysterious, passionate, surprising book, and to let it form our hearts as we turn to God in worship. “If the psalm prays, you pray. If the psalm laments, you lament. If the psalm exalts, you rejoice. If it hopes, you hope. If it fears, you fear. Everything written here is a mirror for us.” (Augustine of Hippo)