Last February, a new Psalter, entitled Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship, was offered to the church by our brothers and sisters of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America. David Gambrell, the guest editor of the current issue of Liturgy, interviewed Martin Tel, the psalter’s co-editor about the process of its development, the criteria by which settings were selected, and the hopes that he holds for its use in the church.
Tel hopes that the new psalter will help the church
... discover or rediscover the psalms in worship. In the hands of thoughtful pastors and worship leaders, this volume will offer plenty to explore. For communities that already incorporate psalms regularly into worship, this psalter will suggest possibilities for expanding. Roman Catholics might discover accessible metrical or global psalms. Lutherans might sing a folk style responsorial psalm on a Sunday. Reformed folk might learn to render a psalm using a simple chant and refrain. Those in the free church or contemporary evangelical traditions will be surprised to find that some of their most beloved hymns and songs are indeed based on the psalms. All traditions will find some sense, perhaps a latent sense, of rootedness in the psalms and then be able to explore from their psalm centers. To that end, the book is geared not only toward worship planners and leaders, but should also be in the hands of choirs, ensembles, praise teams, and, ideally, in the hands of all worshipers.The psalter is also designed for communities or groups committed to services of daily prayer. With the incorporation of simple liturgies for these traditional services, a community could celebrate daily prayer using only this book and a Bible.
As a planner and leader of christian worship, do you perceive an openness to experimentation in the use of the psalms within your congregation?
David Gambrell (2012): "Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship", Liturgy, 27:3, 47
Martin Tel is C. F. Seabrook director of music at Princeton Theological Seminary and a coeditor of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship (Brazos Press, 2012).
The interviewer, David Gambrell, is associate for worship in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Theology and Worship and editor of Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching, and the Arts.