Artful Repentance by Ken Myers

Column: From Heavenly Harmony

Artful Repentance

by Ken Myers

The psalms, C. S. Lewis reminds us, are poems, "and poems intended to be sung: not doctrinal treatises, nor even sermons." Since they are lyrics, the psalms, Lewis insists, are characterized by "all the licenses and all the formalities, the hyperboles, the emotional rather than logical connections, which are proper to lyric poetry." We must always resist the temptation to reduce our reading of a psalm to a set of neatly contained bullet points, since the perception of meaning in poetry always requires our imaginative participation in the text. And singing usually helps.

We don't have access to the music originally used to sing the psalms, but each era in the Church's life has cultivated musical forms that strive to convey the existential point of view sustained in these sacred poems, which artfully commingle frustration, hope, sorrow, and praise. When the psalms are set to music, additional layers of formality are necessarily introduced, along with new dimensions for making emotional connections. The results are sometimes profound.

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more from the online archives

32.5—September/October 2019

Feral Sexuality

on the Inhuman Transformation of Transgenderism by Anthony Esolen

19.4—May 2006

Liberalism as Religion

The Culture War Is Between Religious Believers on Both Sides by Howard P. Kainz

32.2—March/April 2019

What Gives?

on Properly Rendering Things to Caesar & to God by Peter J. Leithart

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00