Psalm 1 #1

Hello and welcome to the beginning of our Adult Sunday School on Psalms.  We will meet after church on Sunday (11:30 to 12:30) and everyone is welcome- whether you did these readings or not, and whether you have come before or not.  This is true for every week!  As before, we are sending out these emails pretty broadly, because sometimes people like them even if they aren’t regularly coming to the class.  However, if you don’t want to get them, just respond to this email and let me know. It doesn’t affect whether you get the regular church email.

This week we will talk about the beginning of Psalms- Psalm 1.  It is actually one I memorized the beginning of long ago as a sort of calming centering prayer.  This book of Psalms was made to support worship, like our hymnal.  So as part of worship- they are a conversation between people and God, but perhaps franker and on topics we don’t have in our standard worship, more on that later.  But it is important to remember that these Psalms are mainly words of people reaching to God, and not the words of God speaking back.  We see what they are feeling and their perspective on what is going on.  This is important as we examine our own feelings and perspectives towards God, but we don’t have to agree with the Psalmist’s feelings as “right” or ours.  They are marvelously honest though, and through them we can perhaps become more honest with God too.

Reading Psalms 1:1-3

Focus Verse 1:3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.

This verse is referring to those who delight is in the word of God and it is central to their lives.  This loving image of nurture and fruitfulness is similar to many we will encounter in the Psalms.  But do we believe it?  Is it too simple?  Don’t good people with God in the center of their lives still suffer?  Perhaps the Psalmist really thought everyone that worships God prospers in all they do, but it seems unlikely for any person that has any life experience.  What could the Psalmist have meant? What does it mean to prosper and flourish?