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Pastoral Reflections in the Psalms

The tendency in reading the Psalms is to hunt down devotional thoughts. The impact of this approach on our reading of the Psalter is to create an unintentional canon within a canon. Why, for instance, if we treat the Psalms as a devotional self-help collection should we read psalms in which there is no neat winding up where God comes to the rescue? And best not to touch the psalms which measure devotion to God in the desire to commit infanticide.

Preachers are guilty here too. Why did the writer of Psalm 139 have to spoil such a wonderful psalm by including verses 19-22? (go read them). The result: these verses are excised from the preacher’s content as if they didn’t exist.

Taking recent work by scholars like Brueggemann and others who are reading the Psalter as a coherent narrative, I tried to engage with the text of the selected psalms as part of the story of a life.

Session 1
Psalms 1, 2, 50, 73
Entering onto the journey of life

Session 2
Psalm 8
The God in whose presence we walk

Session 3
Psalm 48
The life we carry

Session 4
Psalm 32
Learning to sing

Session 5
Psalm 15
Learning to walk

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