Library News – February

Much as I enjoy the services as we have them now, I regret that we do not together, as a congregation, recite the Bible any more. We have two Bible readings in most services, we taste the Old Testament and hear the Gospels and Epistles, but we have lost the songs and the poetry of the Bible.
We used to say or sing the psalms. We used to say together the great New Testament poems, Mary’s Magnificat, Zechariah’s Benedictus, Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis. Week by week the poetry embedded itself in our memory, as poetry does. And with the poetry came prayer. We have lost a way of talking with God.
I suspect the clergy haven’t noticed this. Each Anglican priest says Morning Prayer each day, and so recites the psalms in order through the year. The poetry and the prayer runs through their minds still, and they may not see what their people have lost.
I urge you to return to the psalms. We have some books in the Library that can help. C.S. Lewis’ “Reflections on the Psalms” is a thoughtful look at the psalms, and what they were written about. David Garnsey’s “Songs From a Dry Land” is a useful brief description of each of the psalms, with some odd comments. Dietrich Bonhoeffer “Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible” is a tiny book, urging us to pray with Jesus through the psalms, showing us how in the psalms, God is teaching us what to pray.
I would recommend starting with Eugene H Peterson, “Psalms: Prayers of the Heart” (A Lifebuilder Bible Study) to understand the psalms as both poetry and prayer. He takes twelve psalms and leads us (in study question style) through the different ways of prayer each gives us. He shows us how to use them all. Try it.

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