What does it mean to be among “the redeemed”? We are studying Psalm 107 for Sunday, October 17, which develops several detailed images of “the redeemed.” How, we might ask, do any of these images resonate with our own experience – or do our own images of “redemption” differ from those in the psalm? [Some notes on the text are here.]
Here are a couple more questions we might find it illuminating to think about, or to discuss in class:
How do we encounter this particular psalm as poetry? For instance, as we read this psalm, what words, phrases, or images stand out for us? Which ones speak to us most directly or forcefully? Which feel beautiful to us? Can we say why – what it is about those words or images that affects us this way?
Do any of the phrases or images feel troublesome to us? Again, can we say why?
What does this pattern of effects tell us about ourselves?
How does the psalm describe God? That is, what adjectives does the psalm use for God?
How does the psalm portray God? That is, what does God do in the psalm – what verbs does the psalm use for God’s activity?
How does the psalm’s portrayal of God affect or modify the psalm’s description of God? How does this portrayal affect what the description means to the reader?
What image of God does the psalm create? How does this image of God affect us – what does it make us think, how does it make us feel? Why is that, do we think?
Why should “the wise” “consider the steadfast love of the HOLY ONE” (v43)? What lesson will the wise learn from this consideration, do we think? Why?
Scholars think this formal, highly structured psalm would have been used liturgically. When could we see using this psalm in our own worship? Can we think of an occasion for worship – past, present, or future – where this psalm would be especially appropriate or moving? What occasion? Why?
Can we think of any occasions when this psalm would not be a good choice for worship? When? Why not?
Image: “Spannende Lektüre,” Walther Firle, 1929, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.