Only the dead can be resurrected

rembrandtjeremiah

There are indeed psalms of joy and triumph. The parents rejoicing in the birth of a child could find words of gratitude to sing to the Lord, but there are also psalms which allow bereaved parents to express their grief and their sorrow in words of praise to their God.

As Carl Trueman reminds us, The Book of Common Prayer proclaims that ‘in the midst of life we are in death’. In the June/July edition of First Things, he argues that the church in her music and liturgy has followed the world in its flight from tragedy. The sacraments, psalmody, the historic liturgies of the church, and even the placement of a church building in the midst of a graveyard once served to immerse people in the reality of the Fall and death, and the unfulfilled longing for the age to come. As the Old Testament tutor at my theological college, Ridley Hall frequently remarked, contemporary songs, unlike the psalter, no longer have room for lament. The church’s worship should prepare people for resurrection by preparing them for the death through which they must first pass before reaching that resurrection.

(HT: Stephen Edmonds)

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