Songs for Life

I've just started the book of Psalms in my morning Bible readings.
Even if you're not a Christian, you may know these are a collection of
150 songs that can be found smack dab in the middle of the Bible. But
even if you are a Christian, you may not fully appreciate how earthy
these songs are. But it doesn't take too long before you find lots of
things you might not expect to find in the Bible, like raw emotion and
desperate cries for protection and even vivid calls for God's
vengeance upon one's enemies.

When I study the Psalms, I can't help but think back to the summer of
1994, when I read one Psalm a day during my time in Eastern Europe.
Surrounded by unfamiliar words, faces, and places, the Psalms - and
the God of the Psalms - were my refuge. On many occasions, the
sentiments being poured forth were so poignant and so relevant, I
wasn't reading the words as much as praying along with them.

Less so but still to some degree, that's how it's been this time
around. This holiday season, here's hoping we don't get so lost in
end-of-year busyness, economy-related worries, and family stress, that
we lose sight of a God we can come to in whatever state we're in -
blissfully thankful or drearily despondent, desperately fearful or
angrily provoked. A helpless little baby in a manger should remind us
that, far from being distant and unfeeling, the God of the Bible is
the earthiest, most accessible deity around.

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