Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
The Psalms have been a comfort to Christians throughout time. Calvin refers to the Psalms as “An Anatomy of the Soul; for there is not an emotion of which anyone can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life of all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.”
The beauty and richness of the Psalms is that they give expression to the height and the depth of our emotions, our responses to situations, circumstances and events. They are mirror reflections of our souls. And yet, they are more than that. They ground these emotions, our responses to those situations and circumstances, in the truth of who God is and His promises in Christ to His children.
In sum, the Psalms 1) teach us about God in all His fullness and faithfulness, 2) they give expression to all of life’s experiences and accompanying responses, and 3) they model for us how we think and live and respond in our own situation and circumstance based on the truth of who God is. This is what makes the Psalms unique it is what resonates with Christians through time.
During this COVID-19 crisis, I have spent much time in the Scriptures, and specifically in the Psalms. I am sure that is true for most of us. In addition to your regular Bible reading, during this month I invite you to join me in reading and praying through the Psalms. You will see there are morning and evening readings for each day of the month. It is a fitting way to begin and end the day. Rather than reading both morning and evening, some do all the reading in one of those settings.
The format one follows is not as important as reading, immersing and lingering over the truth in the Psalms. Maybe this is what you will make the focus of your family worship time. From your own reading, choose one of the Psalms from the reading for the day and read it as a family.
I include below the daily readings, which are the guidelines set forth in The Book of Common Prayer (1662). During the month, share with others what you are learning through your time with the Lord in the Psalms, as that truth intersects with and is lived out in the midst your own situation and circumstances related to COVID-19.
Brothers and sisters, as you engage in this month-long immersion in the Psalms, keep the bookends of the Psalms, the first (1:1) and last verses (150:6) of the 150 Psalms, in mind:
“Blessed is the man who[se] . . . delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. . . . Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”