Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Psalms are Songs of Faith - Part 3

Continuing sharing this emphasis on psalms (which began here). We don't tend to think of the Israelites as people privileged to see God's presence in nature. I, for one, think of them as turning to false gods when nature becomes involved. However, some of my favorite psalms are the ones that talk about such things as hills dancing or rivers singing ... and I am happy to see that it comes from our elder brothers in faith.
The Psalms Celebrate Events as Mighty Acts of God

It is true that we in the Western world love to reason, but this love need not exclude poetic experience. The psalms in deed revel in such vivid images as: mountains that dance, seas that howl like animals, clouds that ride in the sky as noble horsemen of God, and lightening that writes like a pencil God's presence into the hollows of the earth. When we can admit that these descriptions are real and not just fanciful ways of talking about God, we can accept the message of the psalms.

It was characteristic of the Israelites to find the presence of God in nature and history. It was the unique privilege of the Israelites to see and know that God was really doing something in this world. It has, after all, always been his world, but it takes a long time for many to admit it.

We owe a tribute to Israel for being perceptive enough to know that the events of nature and history are not just simple happenings, but the very acts of God. In the psalms we see that the Israelites had the original insight into God's presence in the movement of history. Put in another way, it was the Israelites who were really the first ones to see the divine purpose in history. As they saw the unfolding of historical events, they came to understand their history as salvation history. They learned to attribute these events to the presence of God.
Fr. McBride's Guide to the Bible by Alfred McBride, P.Praem
Next: The Psalms Are the Central Prayers of the Church

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