In this week’s edition of our weekly newsletter, Scott Gunn reflects on this trying, troubling year, and suggests turning to a time-tested fount of wisdom: the psalms.
For many of us, each day’s news brings new horror and sorrow. It’s still not clear to me if things are really getting worse, or if we’re finally seeing more of what has been happening. Either way, this has been a rough year.
As Christians, we rightly want to do something to work for peace and justice. And we must absolutely do that. The Gospel demands it. Our baptismal promises demand it. And basic human compassion demands it. Deciding what you should do is something that you need to discern for your context and for your abilities. At the very least, we should be listening to those who are marginalized–who are most often the victims of violence.
I do not for a second want to ignore our external responsibilities, that is, our duty to attend to the needs and to the suffering of the world. But I also think we should attend to our own hearts. We may not be able to effect change in the world, but we can all change our hearts.
For this, I encourage you to spend time with the psalms. Every horror and every delight is found there. Every bit of joy and every bit of rage is expressed. Every noble act of justice and every evil act of oppression is laid bare. Every hymn of praise and every rejection of God’s presence is there.
Grab any bible and turn the psalms. I like the psalter in our Book of Common Prayer, but you might prefer a different way to read them. Read them straight through, or read them randomly. Whatever you do, pray and study the psalms with open hearts and open minds.
I lift up my eyes to the hills; *
from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the LORD, *
the maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)
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