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Psalms

Writing Your Own Psalm

O God, you are like coffee to me!

. . . I thirst for you in the morning when I wake.

. . . Your warmth continues to travel through me.

. . . I return to you throughout the day and get renewed and refreshed.

The Psalter in the Hymnal

The psalter has long played a prominent role in the worship of Christians in the Reformed tradition. John Calvin held the newly reformed church to the singing of the inspired words of the psalms. In the nineteenth century, particularly in North America, Reformed denominations began to accommodate hymns by binding them to the back of their psalters. The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) has maintained this “Psalter Hymnal” format right up to the twenty-first century.

Article Resources: 

Words That Seep Into Your Soul

We all have a story to tell. But as Christians, our story is God’s story. We are called to tell our stories in order to tell “the old, old story of Jesus and his love.”

Singing the Shepherd Psalm

Part 3 of Three Articles on Psalm 23

The following article, though not typical for Reformed Worship, is well worth spending some time on. Pastors, musicians, and worship planners alike can benefit from considering the pairing of text and tune and the challenges that arise from a plethora of choices. In addition, several denominations are in the process of developing new hymnbooks for congregational song. This series of articles provides a glimpse of some of the detailed discussions that take place when considering the pairing of texts and tunes.

—JB

Singing the Shepherd Psalm

Part 2 of 3 Articles on Psalm 23

The following article, though not typical for Reformed Worship, is well worth spending some time on. Pastors, musicians, and worship planners alike can benefit from considering the pairing of text and tune and the challenges that arise from a plethora of choices. In addition, several denominations are in the process of developing new hymnbooks for congregational song. This series of articles provide a peek into some of the detailed discussions that take place when considering the pairing of texts and tunes.

—JB

Singing the Shepherd Psalm

Part 1 of 3

The following article, along with parts 2 and 3 to be published in later issues, though not typical for Reformed Worship, is well worth spending some time on. Pastors, musicians, and worship planners alike can benefit from considering the pairing of text and tune and the challenges that arise from a plethora of choices. In addition, several denominations are in the process of developing new hymnbooks for congregational song.

Lessons I Learned from Singing the Psalms

Growing Up with the Genevan Psalter

Growing up in a conservative Reformed church in the Netherlands, I sang only from the Genevan Psalter, a collection including all 150 psalms that was created hundreds of years ago under the supervision of John Calvin.

Behind this almost 500-year-old practice was the belief that singing the words of the psalms together meant we were singing the divinely inspired Word of God.

Difficult Psalms for Difficult Times

One Church's Response to the Haiti Tragedy

Early this year I began working on an article for RW on the liturgical use of difficult psalms. Then on January 12 we received the news that an earthquake had struck the island nation of Haiti. By Sunday it was evident that the number of people killed, injured, or homeless would be measured in the hundreds of thousands. That Sunday morning I worshiped with two different congregations. The first congregation offered impassioned prayers for Haiti, but in a liturgical context that did not deviate from the plans laid out earlier in the week.

From Sin to Trust

Worshipping with Psalm 130

As our worship committee planned a service around Psalm 130, we were reminded that this is a Psalm of ascents, sung by the people of Israel as they approached the temple to worship. The psalmist begins in the depths of sin, moves to trusting in God as the One who forgives, and concludes with a communal call to trust in God. Wanting to remain true to the text, we planned our service as a journey moving from sin to trust. This momentum helped us all to acknowledge our need for a Savior and to go forward, confidently trusting in the Lord’s compassion.

"My God, My God, Why?"

Understanding the Lament Psalms

My quest to understand the psalms of lament began in the midst of a deep period of depression. I had spent a wonderfully rich two months in Ethiopia, recording Christian Somali music for broadcast from Ethiopia over Somalia. During my time there I received numerous “prophetic words” that doors would open for me when I returned to Canada. But within a few short months of my return I was unemployed and living in the basement of a friend’s parent’s house. My familial home had burned down and a friend of mine had committed suicide.