Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bonhoeffer on Praying the Psalms

"The psalms that will not cross our lips as prayers, those that make us falter and offend us, make us suspect that here someone else is praying, no we- that the one who is here affirming his innocence, who is calling for God's judgment, who has come to such infinite depths of suffering, is none other that Jesus Christ himself.  It is he who is praying here, and not only here, but in the whole Psalter.  The New Testament and the church have always recognized and testified to this truth.  The human Jesus Christ to whom no affliction, no illness, no suffering is unknown, and who yet was the wholly innocent and righteous one, is praying in the Psalter through the mouth of the congregation.  The Psalter is the prayer book of Jesus Christ in the truest sense of the word.  He prayed the Psalter, and now it has become his prayer for all time...Jesus Christ prays the Psalter in his congregation.  His congregation prays too, and even the individual prays.  But they pray only insofar as Christ prays within them; they pray here not in their own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ..."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in "The Day Together"

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