Welcome

“Why should anyone devote a contemporary blog to David, to delving deeply into his life and prayers and to reflecting and meditating on his poetry?” one might ask. It certainly is a legitimate question and one that deserves more than just a word or two in response. So I have attempted to address it as thoroughly yet succinctly as I can in the “Why David?” section of this blog. I invite you to take a look.

But before you go there, let me be the one to pose and answer a couple of related questions: why am I writing this blog? and why now? It’s a story I love to tell. You can read it here.

The Heart of Worship

Insight and inspiration often come to me from the most unlikely sources and when I least expect them. Such was the case recently as I drove winding back roads of tidewater Virginia. The landscape is stunningly beautiful in an understated way, even as the vistas are quite predictable: stands of old trees frame fields of waving grasses, rolled bales of hay punctuate the harvested parcels like ellipses and prompt me to wonder what is missing or coming next. And then there are the many dozens of small churches that have stood along those roads for at least decades and more likely a century or two. [Read more…]

The Sorrowing Heart

At dinner with a friend earlier in the week I surprised myself when I said that one of the challenges of growing older is adjusting to the increased frequency with which we encounter endings. Whether or not my observation is objectively true is open for debate. These facts are not: endings are inevitable, and we respond to them differently as we mature. Both endings themselves and our reaction to them are important in life generally and critically important in what we might term our spiritual lives or journeys. The great psalmist understood these things. [Read more…]

The Heart of the Image

Last week’s post ended with my encouraging you to record the images, or metaphors, that David uses to describe his God. Good poets carefully choose their images to be more than what they are– that is, to transport the reader or listener beyond the “thing” itself to a deeper level of understanding. Poetic images generally call out to us to respond not only with our minds but also our senses – and when the images are in the psalms, we can add our hearts and our spirits – as well as with our own experiences to uncover their meaning. Yes, understanding poetry and the images on which it turns is, in part, experiential. Therein lies a conundrum. On whose experiences should we rely and on whose does and should meaning rest? [Read more…]

Knowing God by Heart

In my last post I promised we would turn attention to the psalms next. As we do so, we move away from examining what others, including God, have said about David to listening to what David has to say about himself– in relation to and in relationship with the Lord. The last point is important because that relationship is central to the vast majority of the psalms of David. [Read more…]

A Listening Heart

Last Saturday I spent the morning in a workshop on the ancient prayer tradition known as Lectio Divina. This centuries-old form of meditation has been engaged by Christians since at least the 4th century and it is actually much older than that. In fact the practice is rooted in the ancient Hebrew tradition of haggadah, with which Jews in Jesus’ time would have been familiar. Both Lectio and hagaddah center on studying the scriptures deliberately and interactively in what might be best described as a listening way. [Read more…]

When Vision Fails

After my last post several people commented that thinking of David as “a seer after God’s own sight”  was a new concept. One noted that she loved learning that “beautiful eyes” can mean the way we see things, and that it would change the way she and others, she believed, viewed David.

When we examined the phrase “he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome,” that’s what we were doing — glimpsing how David’s kinsmen viewed him. But not everyone saw him that way. The enemies of Israel certainly did not. And when we look at their reactions to him, there is even more evidence of a strong scriptural connection between beautiful eyes and spiritual insight. [Read more…]

The Character of David: Heart and Vision

God’s selection of the shepherd boy David to replace Saul and to become King of Israel seems to have surprised his father Jesse. He had, after all, neglected to consider David initially as he paraded his other sons before Samuel. Even after the prophet had determined “The Lord has not chosen these,” Jesse apparently gave no thought to David. Samuel had to ask, “Are all your sons here?”

[Read more…]

Did David Write the Psalms?

Let me begin by saying that I see the answer so clearly that I don’t understand the need for this question. But others do, so I will pose it so I can respond.

Did David write the psalms attributed to him? Yes, I think he did and I believe the question of authorship can be settled most convincingly by examining voice.

[Read more…]

Still

Early one morning in February 2005 I sat alone in a one-room building that had once been a corncrib atop a hill called Mt. San Angelo nestled in the Shenandoah. The quiet and isolation of that tiny space conspired with the sheer beauty of the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains to make it a place of inspiration. I was there to be still, to practice my art of poetry. [Read more…]