During Lent, I found myself noticing particular phrases in the Psalms that I had not previously seen. Then, as we went through Holy Week, the Psalms again seemed to be standing out to me. I was struck at how real, and human, the Psalms are. It is as if all of the emotions of the human condition can be found in the Psalms. And, they’re real emotions that I can easily relate to – not only joy, hope, and praise, but despair, hurt, and disappointment. 

I did not grow up Episcopalian, but I recall as a child singing particular hymns that seemed a bit untrue to me. There’s nothing wrong with these hymns, but they just didn’t resonate with me. One of the hymns had a refrain that concludes, “It was there by faith, I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.” While the music was fun to sing, I remember thinking that perhaps something was wrong with me – I was a Christian but I wasn’t literally happy ALL the day, as in 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. I don’t know the original intention of the author of that hymn, and perhaps she/he did not intend for me to interpret that phrase literally, but it seemed odd to me to be singing about something I didn’t necessarily think was true. Which brings me back to the Psalms – they’re both poetic and very relevant. And even though I’ve seen and sung many of these texts many times over, each time I experience the Psalms they seem to have a new message to deliver to me. Thanks be to God!