A Bulwark against…

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In his powerfully helpful book Praying the Psalms (50) Walter Brueggemann reminds us that Jews cannot pray very long without meditating on the Torah. Pointing to Psalms 1, 19, and 119 as examples he says the Torah is at the very center of Jewish spirituality. Such psalm-based, Torah inspired spirituality delivers us from the excessive romanticism and subjectivism Jesus followers often find so tempting—and then turn into clichés.
Jewish preoccupation with the Torah, says Brueggemann, is “hard-nosed realism about the norms of our life, the public character of true religion.” It reminds us that the original way to know God is through obedience. Psalm-like celebrations of the Torah give us not only commands but assurance, not only rules but a bulwark against phoniness and temptation. Reality, such psalms promise, is structured in ways that will not be defeated. Life has a moral coherence that we can rely on. Thank God.

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