Starting fresh: Psalm 1.

The beginning of the church calendar, Advent, takes you back to the beginning. The morning psalms, for example, go back to Psalm 1 and following. So I decided to go back to this reflection on Psalm 1 I published a few years back.


When you pick up a book of poetry or a book of song lyrics, you have to work.

You cannot read Gerard Manley Hopkins or W.H. Auden or Bono the same way you read Malcolm Gladwell or Donald Miller. With poems, you have to stop often, read out loud at times, look in your heart for images and understanding.

The book of Psalms is a book of poetry. It takes time to read and reread. But that what keeps people going back.

Here’s a reflection of the first of the psalms.

Psalm 1

It doesn’t make a lot of sense, now, does it

if a person wanting to live a blessed life

gets all his advice from people who are against God

or walks along a path that leads away from God

or sits on the sidelines being snarky all the time.

Instead, think what would happen if she decided

to focus on God’s words

like words from a lover

and day and night reflected on them.

It’d be like a planting a tree right by a river,

roots well watered,

branches bearing great fruit.

The things people like that do, they prosper somehow.

A person who is against God isn’t going to grow this way.

Without the water of life, you end up more like chaff,

the hull on the outside of a grain of wheat,

blowing away in the harvest wind.

At the end of everything, when considering how life was lived,

the ones who chose to be wicked

will find their legs collapsing under them.

And the ones who joyfully wanted “sinner” as their pursuit

will find no room in the “righteous” section.

Those who trail along after God

find protection along the way.

Those who are committed to avoiding that path

will find themselves among the ruins.