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How fortunate we are to have the Book of Psalms, that wonderful collection of prayer and poetry which tells us so much about who we are, how we tick and how we relate to God. There is no feeling the psalmist does not know, no emotion unexplored. Three thousand years might have passed since they were written, but the psalms can still move, console and challenge us today.
I am delighted to welcome our contributors to the Theme section of this issue, all looking at the psalms in different ways. Patrick Woodhouse demonstrates how they reveal the human longing for intimacy with God, Ian Stackhouse looks at the psalms of complaint with particular reference to Psalm 55, while Helen Paynter considers how we should respond to those disturbing psalms which appear to encourage violence. Meanwhile, Rona Orme gives practical suggestions for bringing psalms into regular worship, particularly in all age and children’s worship.
The psalms can also be a source of creative inspiration. Angela Scott explains how they have become a resource for her own creative writing, and Jacqui Hicks describes ways of encouraging a visual response. I hope you will find their suggestions stimulating. Do write in to share your own ideas and experiences.
Apart from the articles on psalms, this issue also offers a little more information about early women Readers, and an article based on the address given at the Central Readers’ Council last April by Mark Greene of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. This gives much food for thought. In other articles, you are invited by David Sellick to consider the meaning of the phrase ‘fear of the Lord’, Nick Mayhew-Smith tells us about his remarkable exploration of Celtic Christianity, Denise Colliver writes about the ministry of healing and Francis Young compares the role of the Reader with those of Deacon and Lector in the Roman Catholic church.
The next issue of The Reader will continue discussion about Reader ministry. Bishop Martyn Snow and Ruth Haldane will contribute full length articles instead of their standard columns, and other voices will also be heard. If you would like to join the debate by submitting an article, it will be needed by mid-August.
During 2020, we will look at ‘Walking with the wounded’ (copy date early November), prayer (copy needed by the beginning of February), working as part of a team (copy needed by the beginning of May) and preaching on apocalyptic texts (copy needed early August). Of course there is plenty of room for articles on other topics too. Email email@example.com with suggestions and outlines for articles. It is always good to hear from you.
With best wishes
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
Message from Bishop Martyn - THE RT REVD MARTYN SNOW
THEME – ENGAGING WITH THE PSALMS
A resource for contemplative practice - PATRICK WOODHOUSE
Psalms for all ages - RONA ORME
Psalm 55: the honesty of prayer - IAN STACKHOUSE
What do we do with the psalms of violence? - HELEN PAYNTER
A personal response to the psalms - ANGELA SCOTT
Psalm, station, image and word - JACQUI HICKS
Early women Readers – more details - MARY OAKELEY, MOLLY DOw, MARGARET BAXTER and Jean Rowe
David Essex… - DENNIS MOOR
…and Rosamund Essex remembered - JACQUELINE BROOKFIELD
Seven days a week - MARK GREENE
Should we really fear the Lord? - DAVID SELLICK
A ministry to all creation - NICK MAYHEW-SMITH
A ministry of prayer - DENISE COLLIVER
Readers in ecumenical perspective - FRANCIS YOUNG
BOOKS AND RESOURCES
Book extract: Psalms: a Really Useful Guide - SIMON STOCKS
Update from the CRC Project Training Manager - RUTH HALDANE
Introducing Carrie Myers
Letters from Readers
Obituary: Sue Hart - CHRYSOGoN BAMBER
Postscript - ANDREW WALKER