It’s a simple book with a complicated title. It’s called “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” and it’s by Eugene Peterson. He takes 15 short psalms, Psalm 120 through Psalm 134, and writes a very accessible brief commentary on each.
The power of the book is that these Psalms are called, in the Bible, the Psalms of Ascent. They are called that because Jerusalem is the highest city in Israel. Faithful Jews went to the temple in Jerusalem several times a year. Each time, on their pilgrimage, they would sing these psalms as they went up to the high city.
Peterson show how these psalms can be used to understand our own Christian pilgrimage through life. I read this book during Lent and I found that reading on one psalm a day was a perfect discipline. Likewise, over the summer, if you want to start or supplement your own prayer practice, this book is the perfect guide and companion.
It also teaches us how to faithfully read the Old Testament as Christians. We want to both respect the original intention of the text and, at the same time know that, for us, it must always somehow and mysteriously speak of our own walk with Jesus.
I hope you get this book this summer. I look forward to talking with you about it in August after I return from vacation. I’m here for three more Sundays, and then you’ll be in the goos hands of the Rev. Jim Ward.
Here’s the link to the Peterson book on Amazon.