I’m really enjoying Michael Goheen’s book, A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story. Here’s a nice quote on the relationship between the Psalms and the formation of the people of God, and how this relates to our engagement in God’s mission:
We get a glimpse of the richness of Israel’s worship when we read Israel’s temple hymnbook – the psalms, which prompt the people to thanksgiving, wisdom, commitment, repentance, joy, and obedience. The psalms nourish faithfulness in all its dimensions, so that Israel might be an attractive display people. Israel’s worship and liturgy also creates an alternative worldview to that of its pagan neighbors, opening up a very different way of seeing and living in the world. It offers an unclouded vision of the world in which the one true God, Israel’s God, is creator of all things, ruler of nature and history, and merciful savior. Rodney Clapp captures this perspective on worship in the title of his chapter on the church’s worship: “Welcome to the real world.” In the midst of the land, before the nations, Israel’s worship celebrates the one true God and his mighty deeds in history. What Paul Jones says about the church is certainly first true of Israel: “Inasmuch as the Church is anchored in the gracious acts of God, corporate worship sustains and transmits Christian identity formation.” And so in these ways Israel’s identity and self-understanding, its role and calling in the midst of the nations, are constantly celebrated and nourished by its liturgy. (pp.57-58)
One question that arises for me is, ‘In what ways are we celebrating and nourishing our role and calling in the midst of the nations?’
What do you think?
PS. If you are interested in the relationship between the Psalter and the mission of God, have a look at the June 2010 issue of Encounters Mission Journal, which was on the theme of The Psalms and Mission. It features the following articles:
- Editorial: The Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission.
(Tim Davy, 761 words, pdf 54 KB)
- Article 1: The Nations in the Psalms.
(Prof Gordon Wenham, 5513 words, pdf 65 KB)
- Article 2: The Nations in the Psalms and the Psalms in the Nations – a response.
(Tim Davy, 912 words, pdf 51 KB)
- Article 3: Psalms 1-2 as an Introduction to Reading the Psalms Missionally.
(Dr Brian Russell, 2083 words, pdf 51 KB)
- Article 4: Reflections on the Nations in the Psalms.
(Eddie Arthur, 485 words, pdf 23 KB)
- Article 5: The Nations in Isaiah 40-55.
(Rev Dr David Spriggs, 1218 words, pdf 37 KB)
- Article 6: Missionary Attrition and the Psalms of Lament.
(Name withheld, 1041 words, pdf 41 KB)
- Article 7: A Missional Reading of Psalm 47.
(Tony Hughes, 1664 words, pdf 48 KB)
- Article 8: Praying the Psalms.
(Rev Dr Ian Stackhouse, 2598 words, pdf 59 KB)
- Book Review 1: Transformation after Lausanne: Radical Evangelical Mission in Global-local Perspective.
(by Al Tizon; Regnum Books)
- Book Review 2: Understanding and Using the Bible.
(edited by Christopher J.H. Wright and Jonathan Lamb; SPCK)