The psalms have always been part of my life. During my childhood days in church and in the church choir, we would sing several psalms during each service. Ever since that time, I have identified with the intimate feelings expressed in the psalms both to and about the Lord. So many psalms have lived with me from singing them then. For example Psalm 139 describing the Lord’s knowledge of me, Psalm 84 celebrating the pleasure of being in the Lord’s presence and David confessing his sin in Psalm 51. When I began to write poetry as a teenager it reflected the structure I saw in the psalms though I did not recognise this until much later. I have returned to the psalms many times since especially when following a scheme to read the whole bible within 12 months – something I have done on quite a number of occasions.
A number of years ago, I read The Organic God by Margaret Feinberg along with some leaders in the church I attended. In the book, Margaret mentioned the idea of Midrash, a Jewish way of studying the scripture. She recommended Judith Kunst’s book The Burning Word and it was one of the exercises in this book that suggested rewriting Psalm 42 with images more evocative of the current era. In the end, this sowed the seed of the idea of rewriting all the psalms, and I started this in August 2018.
In reimagining the psalms, I am not aiming to undermine scripture. Quite the opposite, I am hoping that this will help those who read them to see the God of the Bible in a new way. I have aimed to change the metaphors into more familiar ones and I am hoping that this will make the content more intimate for those who read them. In the psalms the writers use many different names for God but these are often translated Lord or God. I have kept the word Lord for Yahweh and God for El but have changed all the other names to reflect my version of these names.
Above all else, I am hoping that those who read my reimagined psalms will find that their relationship with the Lord becomes more intimate.
Thank you to Martha for encouraging me in this work and for producing the videos and website.