“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:18

One of the great things about the book of Psalms is that most of the Jewish synagogues would use Psalms as hymnals. You would come to synagogue and you’d sing, “Oh God, destroy my enemies,” or similar laments.

So, you’re singing as a congregation, these songs of anger and, even if you don’t feel angry about something, now you’re given a space, essentially, to vent to God. In other words, the synagogue is drawing these emotions out of people so that, even if you have nothing to be angry about, at the very least you can be in solidarity with someone who’s been violated. But, if you have been violated in some way, you can bring it to God in anger instead of shoving it down.

There’s actually something very healthy about it. The word is “catharsis,” which is the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from strong or repressed emotions. And that’s a good thing.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, through your word I find relief from my troubles. I love you and thank you for the blessings that come from reading your Holy Scripture. Amen.

REFLECTION: What verse(s) in the Bible help you in day-to-day living?

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