Over the next 12 weeks at CBC we will launch in to our Summer Series - The Psalms: Finding God.
I love the Psalms. I love that poetry and prayers have a space in the Scriptures. I love the honesty of the writings, the emotion that often times is palpable as you read through the psalms of lament or praise and the courage the writers had in how they talked to their Heavenly Father. But most of all, I love the picture the Psalms paint of the character of God. Throughout the Psalms, the emotion of the writers don’t continue to shape the character of God, but rather the emotions of the writers we see on the page are shaped by the character of a God who is known. Sometimes it takes a few stanzas, but the writers reflect on and are shaped by a God who is known and whose character has been revealed to His people.
As I was getting geared up for this weekend, I came across this quote by Eugene Peterson about why he loves the Psalms:
In a world of prayers that indulge the religious ego and cultivate passionate longings, the Psalms stand out with a kind of angular austerity. Left to ourselves, we will pray to some god who speaks what we like hearing, or to the part of God that we manage to understand. But what is critical is that we speak to the God who speaks to us, and to everything that he speaks to us…The Psalms…train us in that conversation. We are wrestled into obedience, subjected to the strenuous realities of living by faith in the God who reveals himself to us. There is a difference between praying to an unknown God whom we hope to discover in our praying, and praying to a known God, revealed through Israel and Jesus Christ, who speaks our language. In the first, we indulge our appetite for religious fulfillment; in the second we practice obedient faith. The first is a lot more fun, the second is a lot more important. What is essential in prayer is not that we learn to express ourselves, but that we learn to answer God.
If you’re the over achieving type, check out this video Peterson did with Bono on the Psalms. It’s worth every minute of the 20 you give to it. Also - in a culture whose currency is celebrity, Christians are always trying to prove they are credible by latching on to any B list celebrity who says anything about God. I’m not saying I agree with our attempt to trade in the currency of our culture, but come on, it’s freaking Bono.
Enjoy. See you Sunday as we continue to be shaped by a God who is known.