You may already know that the Psalms written in the Bible were actually songs. They cover most of life's issues in the 150 songs written. I learned lots about Psalms today at a meeting with our hospital's very cool prayer team.
According to the book Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak for us Today, there are six major themes for the psalms: 5 storytelling psalms (example: Psalm 78); a whopping 64 lament psalms - the most popular type of all songs (example: Psalm 22); 20 Thanksgiving psalms (example: Psalm 116); 17 psalms of praise (example: Psalm 147); 36 Festival psalms (example: Psalm 47); and 22 meditation or wisdom psalms (example: Psalm 23).
What impressed me most is to learn of the context and reasons behind these songs. The Psalms were written as a life story. This led us to ask- how would each of us capture our life story in its different aspects of praise, wisdom, lament, etc? How would we use a psalm as a vehicle to sing our own song?
As an example, we looked at the most popular psalm: the 23rd Psalm:
A Psalm of David
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
And then we looked at this same psalm rewritten from the Eskimo perspective (author unknown).
A Psalm of the Eskimo
The Lord is my master: I am his dog.
He makes me lie down in soft snow; He leads me across the firm ice:
He calls to me encouragingly.
He drives me on good trails because I belong to Him.
Through storms and troubles, I will not be afraid because He is with me,
My harness is securely fastened and His hand is on the sled.
He guards me while I eat, though enemies lurk near. He doctors my hurts.
My heart overflows with gratitude.
Only kindness and gentle care will be mine from the hands of this Master And I will be on His team forever.
So, dear reader, how would you write your own psalm?
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016