Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shouldn't we be singing psalms?

It's about time I wrote more about my research rather than just general musings!

So, the Psalms. Three important things to note about the Psalms: (if you disagree, please let me know...these are things I've taken a little for granted, but are backed up with some reading!)

1. The Psalms are musical by nature. They are not simply unstructured emotional splurges onto a page, but rather carefully crafted compositions of everything from the most ecstatic joy, to the deepest grief.

2. The Psalms are as much corporate as they are individual.

3. Biblical Psalms were written as models rather than prescriptive dictations for liturgy.

With these three in mind, it's interesting how we treat the use of the Psalms in contemporary worship. From my experience, the Psalms are generally used no differently to the rest of scripture in our corporate acts of worship. On an odd occasion, they are used as a call to worship, on a rare occasion, they are used responsively (as in the back of the Methodist Hymns and Psalms book), or for the lucky few psalms, have made it as hymns and therefore incorporated that way.

Even in the New Testament we're commended to sing psalms to each other, let alone the extensive practices of this in the Old Testament!
So...should we sing these psalms? Should we write our own? Or can we simply treat them just as part of scripture. Is our treatment of the Psalms biblical??


R x

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