Blog Archives

The Antipsalm

I’ve been spending some time in Psalm 23 recently and in my study I ran across the following poem by David Powlison.  It’s called the “Antipsalm” because it’s written to be the exact opposite of Psalm 23.  Oftentimes in Bible study it helps to see what something is not, in order for you to see what it is.

I’m on my own.
No one looks out for me or protects me.
I experience a continual sense of need. Nothing’s quite right.
I’m always restless. I’m easily frustrated and often disappointed.
It’s a jungle — I feel overwhelmed. It’s a desert — I’m thirsty.
My soul feels broken, twisted, and stuck. I can’t fix myself.
I stumble down some dark paths.
Still, I insist: I want to do what I want, when I want, how I want.
But life’s confusing. Why don’t things ever really work out?
I’m haunted by emptiness and futility — shadows of death.
I fear the big hurt and final loss.
Death is waiting for me at the end of every road,
but I’d rather not think about that.
I spend my life protecting myself. Bad things can happen.
I find no lasting comfort.
I’m alone … facing everything that could hurt me.
Are my friends really friends?
Other people use me for their own ends.
I can’t really trust anyone. No one has my back.
No one is really for me — except me.
And I’m so much all about ME, sometimes it’s sickening.
I belong to no one except myself.
My cup is never quite full enough. I’m left empty.
Disappointment follows me all the days of my life.
Will I just be obliterated into nothingness?
Will I be alone forever, homeless, free-falling into void?
Sartre said, “Hell is other people.”
I have to add, “Hell is also myself.”
It’s a living death,
and then I die.

February 24 2010 | Blog | Comments Off on The Antipsalm

Unity from the Top Down

Yesterday I preached on the 133rd Psalm and the topic of unity. As with any sermon, you’re never able to say everything that is on your mind, so I’d like to take a moment and comment on one aspect of unity that I wasn’t able to mention yesterday.

Verses 2-3 of Psalm 133 contain two pictures of the blessing of unity. The first of these pictures is of the anointing of Aaron to the priesthood. Verse 2 says, “It [Unity] is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!” The pictures is of this blessing of unity beginning at the top of Aaron’s head and making its way down throughout his entire body and ending up on the fringes of his robes. The second picture is of the abundant water supply of Mt. Hermon falling upon the barren mountain of Zion. “It [Unity]is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!” As I mentioned yesterday the image is of the water of Mount Hermon, located far in the north, making its way down through the entire country and nourishing Mount Zion in Jerusalem. In both images the imagery is of the blessing of unity coming down from the top to the bottom, in fact the same Hebrew word is used in verses 2 & 3. In verse 2 it translates “running down” and in verse 3 it translates “falls.”

Both of these images point to an important spiritual truth: Unity in the church begins at the top and it flows down throughout the body. When the leadership in a church are united that unity will naturally spread throughout the whole body. When the leadership in a church is full of factions and divisions the church will be full of factions and divisions. The old saying is true, “Like Shepherd, like sheep.” There is a tremendous responsibility on the part of the pastors and elders of a church to be united. This does not mean that we always agree with one another all the time or that we simply acquiesce to the majority opinion, but it does mean that we dwell together in unity around the common foundation of the gospel. It means that we always think the best of each other, giving each other the benefit of the doubt and that even when we disagree we still walk away as brothers. Unity in the church begins at the top and it flows down throughout the body. I am tremendously privliged to serve in a church where the leadership models this Psalm 133 form of unity.

August 13 2007 | Blog | 1 Comment »

Psalm 133 & Unity

This morning I will be preaching on Psalm 133 and the topic of unity. Here are a couple of links to some of the things that I’ll be talking about.

The Seattle Times article on Reverend Ann Holmes can be found here. A good treatment of her announcement can be found here.
The Pope’s recent statement on the exclusivisity of the Roman Cathlic Church can be found here.
Al Mohler’s discussion on the recent Papal document can be found here.

August 12 2007 | Blog | Comments Off on Psalm 133 & Unity

« Prev