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Gisele Bauche explains how psalms explore the depth of every facet of our lives.
SASKATOON – The psalms evoke the reality of the human condition and echo with truth for our daily lives, says Gisele Bauche.
"The psalms touch the core of our being," Bauche said Sept. 27 at a session on Exploring Our Faith.
The Book of Psalms forms the "heart of the Bible," Bauche said, both in its location at the Bible's centre, and in its over-arching content.
"The psalms pulse with information; they pulse with the prophet's voice. They pulse with wisdom, direction and guidance; they pulse with thanksgiving and praise; they pulse with lament."
About two-thirds of the 150 psalms are laments, expressing the complaints, struggles and darkness of the human condition, she said.
Summarizing the Old Testament, the psalms also point to and reveal Christ, Bauche said. "They speak of Christ Jesus: the Psalms announce the messiah, are oriented toward Jesus and they unfold the revelation of who he is. The psalms prophesy his coming and they find in Christ alone their fulfillment."
The psalms also speak directly to our daily lives, struggles and ongoing transformation, Bauche said. She presented Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann's explanation of three main themes in the Psalms: orientation, disorientation and new orientation.
When we are in a place of "orientation," all is well and everything makes sense in our lives, Bauche said, citing Psalm 30: "I said to myself in my good fortune, 'Nothing will ever disturb me.' Your favour had set me on a mountain fastness."
However, when changes inevitably come upon us, we can be thrown into a place of "disorientation," in which we feel we have sunk "into the pit" &8211; a difficult and dark place that challenges our view of God and the world, she said.
Bauche related how the source of such "disorientation" might be an event such as a car accident, an illness, or a marriage break-up. "We don't want the situation, but it's there," she said, describing the challenges of moving forward when something has "turned our world upside down."
In this experience of disorientation, there might be anger, bitterness, anxiety, blame and grief. But there also can be a new way of "knowing that God walks with you, a God acquainted with sorrow," Bauche added.
From disorientation, there is the possibility of moving toward a "new orientation," a different place of new understandings and transformation, she said.
This new place is also expressed in Psalm 30: "The Lord came to my help. For me you have changed my mourning into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. So my soul sings psalms to you unceasingly. O Lord my God, I will thank you forever."
In this "new orientation" we are in a place full of gratitude and deeper awareness about ourselves, about God and his grace at work in our lives.