Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Psalm 51

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit" (Psalm 51:12)

We started studying the Psalms today, for which unfortunately the curriculum here only provides about 6 hours of doing -- basically laying the groundwork for a lifetime of digging into the treasures of the Psalter. My prof started by reading from Psalm 51. He is using it sort of as his paradigm, for several different didactic purposes.

I, on the other hand, quote it now simply to remind myself that in spite of feeling rather terrible physically and a bit numb in other respects lately, God is my joy. No doubt I am taking it out of context. Sometimes I feel like the privilege of having all this theological knowledge is a bit of a burden -- I now feel like I have the responsibility to use biblical texts appropriately, rather than just pulling out phrases that sound nice. I say this mostly tongue-in-cheek, of course, because I want to handle the Word of truth correctly.

Maybe I'll try to figure out later if it's "proper" to just pray, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation."

Maybe I'll find out if it's proper when I read Welch's Depression soon (I'm thinking of starting it tonight, even though it's not due for a while ... would it depress me more to read about depression, or would I find encouragement in its pages?).

Maybe I'll just pray that if I am using a text like this irresponsibly, God will forgive me -- this is, afterall, a psalm of repentance and forgiveness.

For the moment, let it suffice: "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

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