Awhile back, Carl Trueman wrote a great little article titled "What Can Miserable Christians Sing." Here's a summary, in the author's own words:
"My thesis was very simple: there is nothing in the typical book of hymns or praise songs that a woman who has miscarried a baby, or a parent who has just lost a child to cancer, can sing with honesty and integrity on a Sunday.
"The desperation and heartache of such moments are things which we instinctively feel have no place in a religion where we are called on to rejoice in the Lord always. Yet there is a praise book which taps such emotions and gives the broken-hearted honest words with which to express their deepest sorrows to God.
"It's called the book of Psalms; and its recovery as a source of public praise in the Christian church can only help the church overcome its innate triumphalism and make room for the poor and the weak; that is the very people that Paul alludes to in 1 Corinthians which are the normal kind of church member.
Yes and amen. Being able to sing sad, sad songs during worship is a benefit of Psalm-singing we often overlook.
But there's more. What about angry Christians? What about those who aren't so much sad as they are incensed by the evil in the world around them? Specifically, what can Christians sing to God this coming Sunday that reflects our heart's reaction to the news that twenty-one fellow Christians were beheaded by ISIS on a Libyan beach?
Providentially, last night our family came in our regular times of singing to Psalm 35E from the Book of Psalms for Worship. While few (if any) Christians would ever be so bold as to write and sing songs to God asking for God's strong justice against our enemies, here it is. Here is the song we need to sing but could never write on our own:
So, yes, be angry. And sing your anger to God with songs that you know please Him and heal your heart simultaneously.
And here's a final warning. These Psalms of war (sometimes called imprecatory Psalms) are serious business. We need to treat them as such. When we sing them, we are calling the Angel of the Lord to raise His army against our enemies: sin, Satan and the haters of the church.
The video below was produced when the Book of Psalms for Worship was published. In it, Prof. Duncan Lowe (at the 1:15 mark) makes the same points much more beautifully:
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