Ascension Lutheran Church, Shelby
The Psalms: Tools for Being & Becoming
9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings on Zoom
Join Pastor Christina for a Sunday morning study of Psalms, the hymnbook of ancient Israel.
The psalms include poems of wisdom and lament to songs of praise and thanksgiving. Jesus himself quoted more from them than any other Old Testament book. For centuries in the Church, they were the primary source for hymns and much of traditional Anglican liturgy is built around them. There is great variety in the 150 psalms which range from poems of wisdom and lament to songs of praise and thanksgiving. Many psalms are written in the first person while others are songs of the community.

The value of the Psalms is that they enable us to come before God to express our praise and pain, and to receive God's word of comfort, hope and challenge. Through this study, written by Anglican priest The Rev. Dr. Brett Cane, we will look at six different types of psalms over six weeks. The goal is to grow in how we relate to God emotionally and truthfully and to allow the Holy Spirit to form within us the One who is reflected in so many ways within them, even Jesus Christ our Lord.
Week-by-week summary

April 26 “The Pursuit of Happiness”
Psalms 1 & 2: Wisdom Psalm + Royal Psalm - introduction to prayer – how to avoid distraction and intimidation; prayer (and psalms) as the language of intimacy – tools God can use; true happiness found in God not self.

May 3 “God’s View of Reality”
Psalm 8: Psalm of Creation and Praise – God is in charge; human identity – as partner and co-ruler with God; stewardship of all creation.

May 10 “The Agony and the Ecstasy”
Psalm 13: Psalm of Lament (see also Psalms 6, 2, 51, 77, 102, 103) - the Psalmist’s view of suffering - suffering and happiness not mutually exclusive; avoidance of suffering is not realistic (culture/ advertising calls us to avoid pain); suffering is not necessarily a sign of unfaithfulness.

May 17 “From Death to Life”
Psalm 30: Psalm of Thanksgiving (after illness) – how God moves us from over-confidence to mourning to joy; God’s “hiding his face” brings power to live and passion for praise.

May 24 “A Time to Love and a Time to Hate”
Psalm 137 - The Imprecatory (cursing) Psalms (see also Psalms 35, 69, 109; see also 10:15; 11;16; 17:14; 21:12; 53:5; 58:6; 69:28; 83:15; 109:18; 110:6; 139:22); reflects our own resentment; sense of indignation at evil; helps us acknowledge our own sin.

May 31 “Jubilation and Judgement”
Psalms 149 & 150: Psalms of Praise – God’s people are called to be jubilant and militant; adoration as our ultimate destiny; the where, why, how, and who of praise!

1 Title from Eugene H. Peterson, Answering God, The Psalms as Tools for Prayer. (San Francisco: Harper, 1991), pg. 2
2 From the Greek “Psalmoi” meaning “songs sung to a harp”; collectively, they are called “The Psalter”
How to Connect for Bible Study
Bible study will only happen on Zoom which allows you to connect by computer, mobile device, or by phone.

No technology? A low-tech possibility is for one person to access the meeting by computer or device and then call a friend and keep them on speaker so they can hear the conversation.

You can join by computer or mobile device by clicking on this link
Zoom will ask you to download and install the app.

Meeting ID: 998 7935 3633
Meeting password: 420709

If you prefer to join by phone, you can call one of the following phone numbers and enter the meeting ID followed by the # sign and then the password followed by the # sign when prompted:

Unfortunately, we do not have a toll-free option at this time.
Additional resources for reading the psalms
Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit by Walter Brueggemann, published by Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon, 2007.

The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary by Walter Brueggemann, Augsburg Publishing House, 1984.

Answering God: the Psalms as Tools for Prayer by Eugene H. Petersen, published by Harper San Francisco, 1989.

Conversations with Scripture: The Psalms by L. William Countryman, published by Church Publishing, New York, New York.

Where Your Treasure Is: Psalms that Summon You from Self to Community by Eugene H. Petersen, published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1985.

The Psalms: SCM Studyguide by Stephen Dawes, published by SCM Press, London, 2010.

A Story of the Psalms: Conversation, Canon and Congregation by V. Steven Parrish, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 2003.

A Liturgy of Grief: a Pastoral Commentary on Lamentations by Leslie C. Allen, published by Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2011.

Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis, Harvest HBJ Books, 1964.

Bringing the Psalms to Life: How to Understand and Use the Book of Psalms by Daniel F. Polish, Jewish Lights Publishing, Woodstock, Vermont, 2000.

The Psalms: Structure, Content and Message by Claus Westermann, published by Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1980.
Listen online
Traveling, sleeping in or need encouragement midweek? Most Sundays the sermon is recorded. Look for links on Facebook or Twitter or go to the website to listen. You also can listen by subscribing to the sermon podcast, now on iTunes , Google Play , Stitcher and TuneIn (search for "Pastor Christina Auch") or read the sermon text posted on the pastor's blog .
Give online
Give whenever it is convenient for you. Visit the church website at and locate the Donate button, or download the “GivePlus Church” app from the App Store or Google Play to set up an automatic donation plan, change your donation plan, make a one-time donation or view your online donation history.