It’s a historical detail with enormous spiritual significance: God’s people compiled the Psalter during the Babylonian Exile. As songs of faith sung in a period of displacement, they express a resilient faith. What Walter Brueggemann acknowledged about the psalms of orientation is even more true of the psalms of new orientation: they are songs not only of social control but also of social anticipation and criticism. These songs express enduring faith for a better world.
Brueggemann writes, “the psalms regularly bear witness to the surprising gift of new life just when none had been expected.” They point to what Howard Thurman called the religion of Jesus for those with “backs against the wall.” And what Delores Williams called God’s penchant for making “a way out of no way.”
Throughout the past month, we read psalms that express exasperation with a God who allows the wicked to prosper. In August, we turn toward a God who is the source of surprising new life from the least expected places.
Throughout August, we will read four Psalms of New Orientation, reflecting on how their message might speak to us today.
- Week 1: Psalm 23
- Week 2: Psalm 97
- Week 3: Psalm 103
- Week 4: Psalm 114
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