Weekly thoughts from the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where these words remind us that Jesus’ peace goes with us into the world.
Hopefully those who primarily attend the 9:00 a.m. Choral Eucharist on Sundays have noticed the restoration of the psalms to those liturgies since my arrival at Palmer. The psalms are a spiritual treasure too often neglected within Christianity. Yet their words can be our own words not only in times of rejoicing but also, and perhaps most especially, when we cry out to God from the depths of disorientation and disappointment. The Men’s Bible Study, which meets at 7:00 a.m. each Tuesday morning, has been studying a wide selection of psalms over the last several months. Men who are curious about these poems, which are also prayers, are invited to join us for the final weeks of that survey as we explore psalms of “new orientation.”
N.T. Wright, a scholar of the New Testament and a bishop in the Church of England, has written a new book entitled The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential. The introduction to that book opens with these heartfelt words from him:
This book is a personal plea. The Psalms, which make up the great hymn-book at the heart of the Bible, have been the daily lifeblood of Christians, and of course the Jewish people, from the earliest times. Yet in many Christian circles today, the Psalms are simply not used. And in many places where they are still used, whether said or sung, they are often reduced to a few verses to be recited as “filler” between other parts of the liturgy or worship services. In the latter case, people don’t often seem to realize what they’re singing. In the former case, they don’t seem to realize what they’re missing. This book is an attempt to reverse those trends. I see this as an urgent task.
To that, I say, “Amen.”
— The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Rector