Why we have to learn how to Ruminate!

When I started blogging several years ago, I chose the title Ruminations. It’s still in the subtitle. It’s not just a graphic term for bovine digestion. It was adopted early in the church as a metaphor for the essential discipline of meditation. It means internalizing and assimilating the truth of God (specifically from Holy Scripture) into […]

Psalm 119 ~ Bonhoeffer’s Unfinished Book

I have three of the 17 volumes of Bonhoeffer’s Complete annotated works translated from the German over a 20 year span. They include background notes from scholars and often fascinating detail from the margin of his Bibles, letters previously unpublished, etc. One gem in Vol. 15 is the notes he began on each verse of Psalm 119 – […]

But how can we exult in a world where there is so much to lament? Where can we find joy in a world where hate is strong, as Longfellow has written, and mocks any expression of peace on earth and good will to men? In the ‘jocund’ Psalms—where music, festivity, and agriculture are not things separate from religion, nor is religion something separate from them— I find an experience fully God-centered, asking of God no gift more urgently than His presence, the gift of Himself, joyous to the highest degree, and unmistakably real.     Reflections on the Psalms, C. S. Lewis

Listen to the sermon where this quote was used: Joy to the World (12-22-13)

Soul Medicine – Prescriptions from the Psalms

This week I re-read the 4th century letter of Athanasius of Alexandria written to a man named Marcellinus on the importance and use of the Psalms. It is often available as part of the his famous work, On the Incarnation. It should be in every Christian’s library.  The edition I have has an introduction by C.S. […]

Poetry Monday – Lament and Peace

A Psalm and a poem by Wendell Berry in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy. from Psalm 5 (NIV) Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay […]

Psalmody, part 7 – The Psalms: good psychologists!

I’m defining Psalmody as  “the continuous and systematic praying or singing of the Psalms.” (see all the Psalmody posts) Kathleen Norris on the mental health of praying the Psalms: In expressing all the complexities and contradictions of human experience, the Psalms act as good psychologists. (Another writer said that the Psalms touch such a range […]

Psalmody, part 6 – Prayerbook of the Bible

Continuing the series on Psalmody, “the continuous and systematic praying or singing of the Psalms.” (see all the Psalmody posts here) Time for Dietrich Bonhoeffer to weigh in – from his wonderful book, Psalms, Prayerbook of the Bible.  You can get this in an inexpensive edition, but if you can swing it, pay a bit […]

Psalmody, part 5 – You want to read this letter!

In the last post, I mentioned that Athanasius of Alexandria, in addition to On the Incarnation, wrote a letter to Marcellinus On the Interpretation of the Psalms. Read the whole letter here.  Here’s a favorite quote from the letter you’ll want to read! Among all the books, the Psalter has certainly a very special grace, […]