My Anti-Psalm & Psalm 131

StairsPsalm 131 is a psalm of ascent. It is a psalm of confession. It invites the worshipper to see the folly of pride and self-sufficiency, and see the peace and freedom in wholly submitting  to the Sovereign God of grace.

But for me Psalm 131 is more like a psalm of irritation. Over the last 8 years of my life this psalm has given me both peace and trouble. Each time I read it I am left with conviction and a new (and often complicated) direction. It has knack for calling my attention pride, restlessness and self-involvement, a.k.a. busyness. Then its as if God leads to me to a posture of confession and surrender, which is sometimes painful and every time beautiful.

Read it. Drink it in. Slowly. Then read it again. Instead of reading to interpret the psalm, let it interpret you.

Psalm 131

Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
too great or too difficult for me.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself
like a little weaned child with its mother;
I am like a little child.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
both now and forever.

One day after reading this psalm through a practice called Lectio Devina, it began to wrestle with my heart in a particular way. This led me to confession, causing me to put pin to paper resulting in what I call, my anti-psalm. This is what bled from my pen:

My Anti-Psalm 131 

My heart is proud, Lord.
For different reasons at different times, my eyes look down upon others.
I always seem to be caught up in things too great or too difficult for me; I want to be in control.
I am a restless, anxious, busy heart.
I am like a fussy, discontented child sitting in the lap of its mother.
I am like a fussy, discontented child.
Self, don’t keep putting all of your hope in your sufficiency and ability to get things done, beginning now and forever more.

Writing-writing-31277215-579-612Things look different once you write them out. In black and white you are forced to see word for word what has been hidden as scattered thoughts floating around in your mind. For me, this was a formative moment that resulted in a new direction. I cannot begin to tell you how perfectly timed this proved to be. It was like God’s Spirit was cutting away at my pride and restlessness one thought at a time. Maybe this is what Paul mean when he called the Word of God the sword of Spirit.

So I invite you, go ahead and write your anti-psalm. Who knows, a new direction or divine-interruption may await you.

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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2 Responses to My Anti-Psalm & Psalm 131

  1. Deborah Coles says:

    Wow. So good.


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