Psalm 29

Please join us for our midweek reflection in Psalms (aligned with Year B, Trinity Sunday)

Read Psalm 29:1-2
Bravo, God, bravo! Gods and all angels shout,
“Encore!”In awe before the glory, in awe before God’s visible power.
Stand at attention! Dress your best to honor him!
3 God thunders across the waters,
Brilliant, his voice and his face, streaming brightness—God, across the flood waters.
4 God’s thunder tympanic,
God’s thunder symphonic.
5 God’s thunder smashes cedars,
God topples the northern cedars.
6 The mountain ranges skip like spring colts,
The high ridges jump like wild kid goats.
7-8 God’s thunder spits fire.God thunders, the wilderness quakes;He makes the desert of Kadesh shake.
9 God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”
10 Above the floodwaters is God’s throne from which his power flows, from which he rules the world.
11 God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.

Reading through this Psalm has made me think really hard this week about authenticity. It doesn’t seem like a Psalm about authenticity, I will grant you that… but it prompted some thinking nevertheless. It seems to me that we, as humans, have a tendency towards black and white thinking – towards the all or the nothing, the immersed or the devoid. This hyperbolising is pretty evident in the Psalms, and it can be really easy to take our cues from poetry, and allow it to shape our whole world view, with grand absolutes and outrageous, extravagant expressions (of love, or of despair!).

But it seems to me that, if we dig a bit deeper, the Psalms makes space for nuance and ambiguity. It makes room for praise and despair to cohabitate in the same space. As I read through this Psalm, I’m drawn down into the waves, looking up at the storm. My feet find themselves on those mountains as they skip and tremble beneath me. My attention is drawn to the very real reality of the chaos and tumult that is actively happening – and yet, the Psalmist draws our eyes up, to a bigger reality.
Feet, planted on swaying, shaking dirt; eyes fixed on the Bigger One, above the storm.

I wonder how often we accidentally stray into modelling a type of faith that expects that we can and will rise above hard things, because of our relationship with God. I wonder how often we slide into that black and white thinking that takes us to that place of absolutes: *if* we are focusing on God *then* we are above the storm, or *if* we are having a hard time *then* we aren’t praying enough. Psalms like this one are a great encouragement to check our perspective, and to find ways to lean into nuance.

What might making space for grief, and struggle, for earth-shaking and big waves, in the midst of worship look like in your faith gathering? What are the challenges? How have you made it work in your community? Share your wisdom with us!

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