Guests: and

Leading Question: What role do stories about the past play in equipping people to navigate life with
all its twists and turns?

Scripture Focus: Psalm 78, Psalm 105

The Big Idea: Knowing where we come from is an important part of knowing who we are. Many of the psalms contain recitations of the long history of the people with God, and these recitations then form the foundation for discernment in the people’s continued journey with God.

For Discussion:

In our ongoing quest to make sense of life’s big questions and situate ourselves within some kind of larger narrative, the ways we remember and recount the past matter a great deal. Our remembering and our re-telling shape our identity and impact our way of being in the world. Eugene Peterson refers to memory as “the mysterious capacity we have for gathering the fragments of experience into a large context that is comprehensive and coherent.”

Discussion question: In what ways do the poems collected together in the book of Psalms function to provide a larger context within which to make sense of life experiences?

Psalm 78 highlights many parts of the history of God with the people of Israel. It is one of the instructional psalms. Reflecting on this poem, William Brown writes: “It is in history, the psalmist claims, that Israel learns of God’s salvific power, compassionate forbearance, and punishing judgment. It is also in history that Israel is given the law and the commandments to follow. History matters to the psalmist; it too is a source of wisdom” (Deep Calls to Deep, 358-359). Psalm 105 also recounts the long history of God’s faithfulness to the people, focusing specifically on God’s deliverance of the people from bondage in Egypt.

Storytelling can be incredibly healing. And one of the positive impacts of storytelling documented by researchers is that depending on how stories are told, stories can move us toward integration and a deeper sense of being part of something bigger than ourselves.

Discussion question: At what points in the history of Israel would it have been especially crucial for the people to tell and retell their stories?

Discussion question: What are some ways we can recognize when we are experiencing the kind of healing that brings fragments of experience together into something more coherent or allows us to see our lives as part of a “zoomed out” bigger picture?

Comments are closed.