Weekly Psalm Study
Drawing from both Anglican Lectio Divina Worship and Study practices and Quaker Small Group Listening and worship sharing practice, each week we will share our 21st century experiences with these ancient Prayers using a Psalm chosen from the 150 Ancient Hebrew Psalms found in The Old Testament and Book of Common. The idea is to experience at a deep level how our wisdom sharing with one another can bring to life healing and wholeness in today’s tender and transforming times. Together, as we travel together, we hope to find threads which bind our human stories with divine possibilities. All are welcome!!
The weekly sessions will be hosted by Cary Page, a St Barnabas Vestry Member who describes herself as a QuakEpalean” – A “Birthright Quaker” and a “Cradle Episcopalean” – a lifelong practicing Episcopalean presently worshipping with St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Borrego Springs. In 2014, she went searching for her Quaker roots, specifically her grandmother Esther Emlen Lewis, who died when Cary’s mother was 5 when her father remarried and moved from The Quaker compound where mother spent her first formative years to a new home where her grandfather returned to his Episcopalian roots.
In 2014, Cary spent a month on sabbatical at Pendle Hill a Quaker Education and Retreat Center in Wallingford Pennsylvanmia. There she learned about St. Barnabas and the wonderful “Spirit-led” priest and the dark night skies where stars could be seen in glorious abundance. The following spring, Cary drove across country with a friend – and the rest is history.
In 2012, Cary facilitated a “Psalm Study” in her then home church in Washington DC for two years. Several weeks ago in prayer, she felt called to facilitate a Zoom Psalm Study!!!
Walter Brueggemann’s and Bellinger’s Psalms (2014) – Brueggemann’s and Bellinger’s theological framework of “Orientation - Disorientation - Reorientation has particular resonance as we try to make sense of our relationship to our personal stories at the individual, group and universal levels. In this 639 page volume, the authors present commentary on the Psalms as Poetry and give us background from studies with literary, theological and historical emphasis. They use this knowledge to comment on each of the 150 Psalms - an invaluable guide.
Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying: an Invitation to Wholeness (2007) – a 21st century interpretation of the Psalms most often using the word “Love” for the Divine.
C. S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms (1958)– brings to light the ancient meanings associated with the books chapter headings: Judgement In The Psalms, The Cursings, Death in The Psalms, ‘Sweeter than Honey,’ Conivance, Nature, A Word About Praising.
Steven Charleston’s Ladder to the Light: An Indigenous Elder’s Meditations on Hope and Courage (2021). In this uplifting book full of wisdom, grace, and truth, Steven Charleston an Indigenous Elder and retired Episcopal Bishop of Alaska with a deep study of Buddhism and Buddhist practices speaks to the universality of spiritual consciousness development in his Introduction: The Vision of the Kiva and eight chapters:The Rung of Faith; The Rung of Blessing: The Rung of Hope; The Rung of Community: The Rung of Action; The Rung of Truth; The Rung of Renewal; The Rung of Transformation; and The Afterword: The Emergence.
Philip Gulley’s If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus (2010). In this deeply honest book, Quaker Theologian, Philip Gulley challenges readers beginning with the table of contents: “If the Church were Christian, Jesus would be a model for Living – Rather than an Object of Worship; Affirming Our Potential woulr be More Important Than Condemning our Brokenness; Reconciliation Would Be Valued over Judgement; Gracious Behavior would be More Important Than Right Belief; Inviting Questions Would be Valued More Than Supplying Answers; Encouraging Personal Exploration Would Be More Important Than Communal Uniformity; Meeting Needs Would Be More Important Than Power; It would Care More About Love and Less About Sex; This Life Would Be More Important Than the Afterlife.
Rev. Dr. Michael Plekon’s Community as Church – Church as Community (2021) speaks to our lives today, in and of our communities as we worship in our different worship spaces at home and across our world and how we live and are called to love our neighbors, no exceptions, as community in our local neighborhoods and around the globe reinventing and repurposing ourselves to meet the demanding and changing needs of today’s world. The purpose of church, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Religion at Baruch University and priest Michael Plekon ordained to serve in the Lutheran Church, Eastern Orthodox Ukranian Church and most recently serving at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, in the Anzo-Borrego State Desert town of Borrego Springs CA – Michael’s book speaks to the issue of the purpose of church for “Worship, Study, Fellowship and Service – in all its infinite forms and varieties of worship, study, fellowship and service all leading toward the one goal to share the greatest of all Loves, by any name: The Way, The Truth, The Light, Allah, YHWY, Jesus, God, Wakan Tanka, Divine Mystery, Great Spirit.
Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman’s Healing Psalms: The Dialogues with God That Help You Cope with Life (2003). In this wonderful book Rabbi Haberman shares his deep wisdom gleaned from many years of spiritual leadership as scholar and teacher making the psalms written so many years ago accessible by people like King David as well as ordinary people of the day all of whom rich or poor struggle as we do with the same life issues, joys and sorrows from love and grief to happiness and depression. Rabbi Haberman brings out the meaning of and offers a brief personal reflection for each of the 150 Psalms. There are also cross references enabling the reader to look for specific kinds of psalms for which to address the widest range of emotions.