Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In Store Now - The Paraclete Psalter

One of my classes when I was at Moody Bible Institue was on the Psalms.  John Frye was my professor and one of the requirements for the class was to read through the book of Psalms six times.  I about fell out of my chair when he told us that.  I started doing the math in my head "Six times in four months that's . . . well, it's just too much."  I did do it and it helped that he encouraged us to use different translations.  I confess I did practice some speed reading skills but when all was said and done I enjoyed it.  This week we received The Paraclete Psalter: A Book of Daily Prayer from Paraclete Press and I was reminded of my Psalms class.   This is a handsomely bound book in imitation black leather which will take you through the Psalms in one month.  But it is much more than just the book of Psalms.  It is also a book of prayers to accompany your reading of the Psalms.  The Psalms are arranged in a thematic order.
"Psalms with references to morning, light, and praise can be found in Lauds; psalms describing evening and the remembrance of God's goodness are mostly found in Vespers.  Retained at the Midday Office are Psalm 119 and the Gradual Psalms (120-34) that have traditionally been chanted at the Little Hours--the shorter prayer services used in some communities--of Terce, Sext, and None.  Alone with Compline these services are prayed each weekday."  (viii)
If you're like me some of this terminology is unfamiliar.  It just so happens I've been reading a book by James F. White called A Brief History of Christian Worship and he has a nice chart of "The Western Monastic Cycle of the Daily Office" which helped me understand some of these terms (the chart is on page 54).

Vespers (at the end of the working day)
Compline (before bedtime)
Nocturns or Vigils or Matins (during the middle of the night)
Lauds (at daybreak)
Prime (shortly thereafter)
Terce (during the middle of the morning)
Sext (at noon)
None (during middle of the afternoon)   
I thought it odd that it would start with Saturday Vespers.  "Shouldn't it start with a morning reading," I thought?  The introduction explains that the only reading for "Saturday is Vespers, which is actually a First Vespers to prepare for Sunday's worship."  I have so much to learn from this rich tradition. 

The book is imitation leather with 336 pages and sells for $24.99.  It uses the NIV for its translation of the Psalms. 

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