Saturday, August 28, 2010

10 Things You May Not Know About Poetry & Psalms

What is Mortality
But the things relating to the Body,
Which dies?
What is Immortality
But the things relating to the Spirit,
Which Lives Eternally?

William Blake 1757-1827

This poem is from a book by John Diamond, M.D., titled The Healing Power of Blake: A Distillation. Dr. Diamond has taken Blake's very long poems and made them readable in this book. He uses poetry to heal his patients, and he believes that Blake was one of the best at writing poetry that heals, especially when it is sung. Diamond suggests to his patients that they write poetry, and also read the poetry of the masters out loud and to sing the poems.

This suggestion reminds me again of David, who was a master of poetry writing, and who used his songs to heal King Saul's malady. Here are 10 things you may not know about poetry and psalms:

1) David gave us one of the most glorious collections of poetry ever written. We call it the Book of Psalms, and the Jews call it the Book of Praises. It is often called the Psalms of David.

2) David had a great talent for playing, singing, and writing poetry.

3) David's true character is revealed in his songs: his love of God, his care for people, his anguish at his own failings, and his trust and faith in God's forgiveness and deliverance.

4) David's poems serve as a journal of his life experiences and a history of his people.

5) David's love of God spills over in beautiful expressions of not only God's love and mercy, but His presence with him, His holiness, His power, and His faithfulness.

6) All of God's attributes can be found in the songs of David.

7) In the Psalms, we learn the value of knowing God, what it means to be righteous, as well as the vanity found in the way of the ungodly, and what their end will be.

8) David wrote 150 poems, which were written to be sung by a large choir accompanied by thousands of musicians.

9) David organized all the music for worship in Jerusalem.

10) The Psalms are read, chanted and sung every day of the year. No other book of hymns has been used for such a long period of time by so many people.

No wonder David is called "the sweet Psalmist of Israel." The Psalms have come down to us as a blessing--their healing power and influence is impossible to calculate. But even a cursory look at their depth and meaning would convince you that they are worth contemplating. Once again, we realize that we have been given great gifts from God. What will we do with them?

I hope all of you have a great weekend, including time when you remember God. I know some of you are having time with the family, and that's always a good idea.


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