The Psalms: A Review, A Look Ahead, and an Invitation

One year ago, I made a decision. It turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated. I chose to spend a year walking through the Psalms.

Except for some time I took off for seasonal breaks and series, I kept up my rhythm all year: one post a week on one Psalm a week. One at a time, starting at Psalm 1.

It proved to be much more difficult, and much more rewarding, than I ever anticipated.

When I read Psalm 1, I thought, “This is going to be easy! So much rich imagery. So many beautiful metaphors.” Then I read Psalm 2. And Psalm 7. And so many other Psalms that are arduous. Psalms about justice and vengeance and frustrations with God.

As I reflected on these Psalms, I realized how often I have picked and skimmed and glossed over when reading the Bible. Many times I have read the warm and flowery words that brought me encouragement, and skipped the sharp words that made me feel uncomfortable.

This series forced me to not skip over those words. And I am a better person for it.

The book of Psalms is a beautiful gift to us, if we have the courage to open it. The Psalms are real life prayers of real life people that we have the privilege to read. They are the prayers of people who’ve been blessed and cursed, loved and abandoned. They are a mix of honest praise and deep and thoughtful wrestling.

As the Psalms swirl through prayers of pain and praise, they paint a portrait of a life of faith.

The life of faith is a life lived with God. A life that stays close enough beside Him to beat against His chest when we are furious, feel the warmth of His embrace when we are depressed, and press our lips against His feet when we are in awe.

As the Psalms connect seemingly far apart themes, they also paint a landscape of a life lived in community.

Sometimes, the words of the Psalms sing beauty in our ears as if they are written only for us. Other times, the clang and feel out of tune. But perhaps that is because for someone else, those words are beautiful music. The Psalms are the prayers of a community. We are meant to lift one another up in prayer, to feel one another’s pain, and to sing for one another’s joy. The Psalms were sung by Israel as a community, and passed down to us so that we might do the same.

The Psalms are works of art can be appreciated on so many levels.

They can be analyzed by the academic, meditated upon by the contemplative, lived out by the activist, and gazed at by the artist. Whatever our approach, I believe we could spend a lifetime studying the Psalms, and still never plunge to their depths.

And so, it is without hesitation that I move forward into another year in the Psalms. One at a time, starting where I left off before Advent.

But this year, I would like to change one thing.

I don’t want to do this alone.

I am extending an invitation to you. Will you join me in my Walk Through The Psalms?

One post a week on one Psalm a week. It’s that simple.

You can reflect on the entire Psalm or simply a verse or two. You can talk about history and context and structure, or you can talk about your life and your story and how you see that Psalm at work.

Really, the only rule is to go in order. No skipping verses that make us uncomfortable. No skimming over verses that we find all to familiar. No rolling our eyes at the verses that seem to make it life sound more simple than it is.

One post a week on one Psalm a week. Period.

(Oh, but please. Please. Don’t worry. Grace. There will be grace here. If the Psalms teach us anything, it’s that life is full of ups and downs and unpredictable moments. If you decide to participate, and need to take weeks off here and there, you are always welcome to jump back in when you are able.)

My Psalm posts will go up on Thursday mornings. I will include a linky tool at the bottom for you to add your post and thumbnail.

And so, this Thursday, will you join with me and launch the year with a reflection on Psalm 37? It is a pretty good entry point to this journey, I think. It is long, but includes plenty of elements that might stir your heart.

I’m excited to see where the journey goes. Especially with company along the road.

Walk through the Psalms is a series working its way through the book of Psalms, one Psalm a week, one post a week, in order. It is grounded in the belief that as Psalms swirl through prayers of pain and praise, they paint a portrait of a life of faith. And, as with any walk, it is better with company; all are welcome to join.