Friday, October 19, 2012

Just a Psalm

When I was little, my dad would read a chapter of the Bible to me and my sister every night before we went to bed.  Usually, we would read through one of the gospels or the stories from the Old Testament, but if we were late getting to bed, dad would tease us and say there wasn't enough time.  We would beg him to read to us, and he would relent, saying, "Maybe just a Psalm."  It became something that my sister and I would say jokingly, when we were up too late―just a Psalm.

Thinking about that makes me laugh now.  I still read the Bible before I go to bed, and I probably read the Psalms more than any other book.  There is so much to them!  The imagery is amazing, and I love how the writers reflect all of the emotions they are feeling: giving thanks, praising God, feeling abandoned, alone, or in despair―sometimes all in the same Psalm!

I also love how familiar the Psalms are, not just because I read them so often, but because I learned so many of them set to music in my childhood.  I will be reading along, then come to a phrase or even a whole chapter that brings back a melody and a time and place I had forgotten.

I memorized a lot of Bible verses as a child, but the first entire chapter I learned by heart was Psalm 100.  My travel Bible says that it is a psalm for giving thanks, which seems like a good place to start.  [Note: I generally try to use nongendered language for God, but because I learned this Psalm with male pronouns, I am leaving it that way here.]

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful song.
Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; 
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; 
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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