Speak­ing up for the Psalms

The Church of England - - COMMENT -

Now that he has fi­nally pub­lished his 1,600-page opus on Paul, Bishop Tom Wright is turn­ing his at­ten­tion to the Psalms. He has just pro­duced a new book Find­ing God in the Psalms. It would be in­ter­est­ing to know just how big a pro­por­tion of SPCK’s to­tal sales he is re­spon­si­ble for! He de­scribes the new book as a ‘per­sonal plea’ to put the Psalms back at the cen­tre of Chris­tian wor­ship. Too many churches he com­plains, re­duce the Psalms to a few verses re­cited as a ‘filler’ be­tween other parts of the liturgy. People don’t re­alise what they’re singing, he com­plains, and de­scribes his book as at­tempt to change things. Wright has a big fol­low­ing in the emerg­ing church move­ment so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if his com­ments on the kind of wor­ship songs pop­u­lar in Hillsong, Soul Sur­vivor and Holy Trin­ity, Bromp­ton, have any im­pact. “The enor­mously pop­u­lar ‘wor­ship songs’, some of which use phrases from the Psalms here and there but most of which do not, have largely dis­placed, for thou­sands of reg­u­lar and en­thu­si­as­tic wor­ship­pers the steady rhythm and deep soul-search­ing of the Psalms them­selves,” he com­plains. For good mea­sure he adds that “to ne­glect the church’s orig­i­nal hymn­book is, to put it bluntly, crazy”.

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