Article Title

Reflections on Psalm 137

Document Type

Faculty Essay


In lieu of an abstract, below is the essay's first paragraph.

"In the communal prayer life of the church - namely the liturgies of the Eucharist and the Divine Office, as well as the Book of Common Prayer to name a fewwe Christians tend to be selective in our focus on the Psalms. We do give at least a tacit recognition to the truth expressed about the Psalms from the saints who have preceded us: Athanasius called them “an epitome of the whole Scripture,” a view echoed by Luther’s insight that they are “a little bible and summary of the Old Testament;” Basil goes further and claims that the Psalms are “a compendium of all theology.” But John Calvin comes closest to the way we should view them because he expresses a unity of theology and spirituality when he states that the Psalms provide “an anatomy of all the parts of the soul.” It is interesting to note that, unlike many other books of scripture, the Psalms (with only a few exceptions) do not contain revelations or statements from God to us but rather express the community’s prayers to God – the Psalms are our voice praying the prayers of praise, penitence, hope, lamentation, loss, faith, fear and rage."

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