I’ve been restless for something to pour some creative energy into during this time of hunkering down at home during COVID-19.
I’ve landed on wanting to explore the honest space of the Psalms. I’d love to (re)imagine how we insert ourselves into these sacred writings. First thing, you don’t have to love, like or even read the Bible to engage with this project. My plan is to use the Psalms as inspiration and groundwork for how I would imagine inserting myself into the story. I’m going to rewrite various Psalms using my voice, my thoughts, and my experiences. Some people will love this, and some people are going to have a hard time not trying to correct me because all their life they’ve been told you shouldn’t “mess with” the Bible like that.
Some people seem to be able to simply pick up the Bible and be inspired or encouraged by what’s on the page. It’s not that simple for me. Not even close. In full disclosure I believe that way of reading and engaging is really tired for many of us, but we are afraid to speak up about it. We are afraid we’ll make God, our pastor, or someone else really angry. (Side note: I don’t believe God responds with anger when we get honest about where we really are.)
I believe the Bible is more like a River than a rulebook. The landscape of my life is always changing and the sacred scriptures are always leading me to interact with my actual life in new and nuanced ways. Around each new bend in the River there are truths to be remembered and new things to be discovered.
I need to be immersed in the sacred story for it to have any affect on me. For it to mean anything or to be guided anywhere significant I have to write myself in, get creative, wrestle it to the ground, imagine new words in the places of old and tired ones.
My friend Steve says this from his upcoming book: “What if there was a way to keep turning its familiar stories over and over until we can see new meanings that speak to new challenges? What if we stopped forcing the Bible to be divine historical journalism and started looking for the differences between true stories and truth stories?” – Steve Wiens, Shining Like The Sun
So over the course of the next several weeks I’m going to be taking various Psalms and (re)imagining what they could sound like. Who knows, maybe once tired words would come to life in new ways. Maybe we could refresh one another with our honesty and find our place in the story all over again.