Martin Luther said that the Psalms are ‘a Little Bible wherein everything contained in the Bible is beautifully and briefly comprehended’. The 150 hymns and prayers which make up the Book of Psalms tell us much about who God is, who we are and what it means to live as worshippers of God. They continue to be central to Jewish worship today and have had a central place in the Church’s worship since the early days of the disciples in Jerusalem. We are going to be exploring the Psalms over the summer at Sunnyside and St John’s through a mixture of our usual talks but also contributions from members of our church families about their favourite Psalms. My prayer is that as we spend the summer with the Psalms, they will help us grow in our understanding of who God is, will deepen our love for him and help us to follow him more faithfully.
5th July ‘A Little Bible’: introducing the Psalms
Readings: Psalm 119.81-112; Proverbs 30.1-6
An overview of the Book of Psalms as we begin our series: what are the Psalms, who wrote them and how Luther’s description helps us understand their purpose.
12th July Psalms of Praise
Readings: Psalm 145; 1 Chronicles 16.3-34
The Psalms call God’s people to recognise and admire his great attributes and deeds. As we see who God is more clearly, the only response we can make is praise!
19th July Psalms of Thanks
Readings: Psalm 107; Colossians 3.15-17
We worship a generous God and it is good to thank him for all he does for us. Above all we join with a common refrain in the Psalms and say: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.’
26th July Psalms of Lament
Readings: Psalm 142; Exodus 2.23-3.10
Lament is a common theme of the Psalms which remind us that the human experience often includes pain and sorrow. The Psalms of Lament encourage us to be honest before God and to ask him for help in our troubles.
2nd August Psalms of Confession
Readings: Psalm 130; 1 John 5.1.5-2.2
Reflecting on who God is brings into focus how we fall short of the glory of God but also how God’s mercy invites us to confess our sins to him in confidence that he will forgive us.
9th August Psalms of Trust
Readings: Psalm 91; Romans 8.31-39
In an ever changing world full of uncertainties and unknowns, it is good to be reminded that we can trust in God. We can stand on solid rock because of who God is and the truth that because of Jesus, we can live as his beloved children.
16th August Psalms of Wisdom
Readings: Psalm 34; Acts 2.42-47
As Christians, we want to follow Jesus’ example of how to live. The Bible is full of wisdom about how to live faithful lives; the Psalms remind us of this and give us good advice on how to live according to God’s way.
23rd August Psalms of Hope
Readings: Psalm 110; Hebrews 4.14-5.10
Our hope is in Jesus and what he has done for us through his life, death and resurrection. Some of the Psalms point to this hope that was to come, the hope that one day, God would send his Messiah to save the world, a hope that was fulfilled in Jesus.
30th August The Psalms in our Lives
Readings: Psalm 111; Matthew 27.45-50
Athanasius, a fourth century Christian teacher, said that while most of Scripture speaks to us, the Psalms speak for us. As our series on the Psalms draws to a close, we will look at how we can use the Psalms in our prayer and worship.