I am reposting something I wrote last Easter–if you have followed my blog for a while you will recognise it. I decided, a year ago, that rather than give up something for Lent, I would try to learn Psalm 22. My reasons are below. Why not follow my blog and learn with me? Even if you’re not religious (I know most people reading this won’t be) then why not learn the Psalm as a mental exercise? It is after all a poem, and people learn poems that originated from all sorts of places, this one simply started as part of the Hebrew Bible. Perhaps you could learn it in a language you are learning? I will try to learn it in Hebrew, and will also post it in Mandarin and Spanish (and English, of course).
As it will be a challenge, I am going to ask people to sponsor me, to raise money for Tearfund (an aid agency who I trust to spend my money wisely). Why not do the same? I know it’s an effort, but things worth doing usually are, and think how motivating it will be to know that people will donate money if you learn those few lines of poetry each day. You can either make an old-fashioned paper chart and keep note of who is sponsoring you, or use the Just Giving and/or Facebook Fundraising platforms. I will use the online forms, so please consider sponsoring me. The Just Giving link is:
This will be fun! We will be doing something for Lent (which as a non-Anglican is simply for fun in my case) plus we will be stimulating our brains (as a defence against future dementia) AND we will be raising money for people in need. It’s a win-win situation!
Psalm 22 is chosen for a reason. I think I am slightly behind the curve, and maybe you knew this already—when Jesus was dying on the cross, many scholars believe that he was reciting Psalm 22.
The idea that Jesus quoted scripture at his most difficult time makes me think that perhaps this is something I should aspire to do. If Jesus came to give us an example of how to live, maybe when life is hard for me, I should also recite scripture—perhaps it would comfort me and help me to focus on better things than the horrible situation I am coping with. I will probably never suffer anything on the same scale as being crucified, but everyone has dark times, don’t they? We all feel overwhelmed sometimes.
Also, from a purely human viewpoint, when bad things are happening, we cope better if we can distract ourselves. The most painful thing I have ever experienced was after brain surgery when they needed to stitch a hole in the top of my head. After surgery they had left a tube going from my brain out the top of my skull, so I looked like a Telly Tubby for a few days. When they removed the tube they needed to stich the hole closed but were unable to use any anesthetic. It hurt. To distract myself, I listened to some Mandarin, and although it still hurt I wasn’t fully focussed on the pain, which helped. It therefore makes perfect sense to me that reciting scripture is a really good thing to be able to do.
Psalm 22 is very long. We will learn a few lines every day, and by Easter we will know the whole Psalm–or at least, more of it than when we started. I will divide the Psalm into segments and post them on my blog, so if you sign up to follow my blog, they will arrive as an email every morning. It will be fun, it’s good to be part of something. So now you need to plan whether or not to ask people to sponsor you, and then wait for the first section to learn on Ash Wednesday. It’s rather exciting!
Let me know how you get on.
Love, Anne x
Don’t forget to visit my Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/team/ThompsonTodd