New book highlights the Psalms for worship and devotion

Rev Lezley Stewart has just published her third book, Let Everyone Find Their Voice – Re-imagining the Psalms for Worship and Devotion. In her reflections below Lezley shares what inspires her to write and what she hopes her writings can offer worship leaders.

Lezley Stewart on a white background
Rev Dr Lezley Stewart, the Church of Scotland's Recruitment and Support Secretary.

There's nothing like receiving a new book and rifling through the pages, and enjoying that "new book" smell. I'm a bit old fashioned that way, and downloading a book just isn't quite the same for me.

It's an even more special experience when the new book is one that has your name on it, and when you can see that the work you have done has come to fruition on the pages before you.

After allowing myself a brief moment of satisfaction, my thoughts turn to the hope that it will prove to be helpful to others….

Last week my third book of worship resources, published by Saint Andrews Press was released. The inspiration for each of my titles has been to resource others–both ministers and all who have the opportunity to lead or participate in worship from the small group gathering to the larger public sphere.

Book cover for Let everyone find their voice

To that end, I have written in a way that allows the resources to be used just as they are, or to act as a springboard for inspiration.

Let Everyone Find Their Voice – Re-imagining the Psalms for Worship and Devotion takes a contemporary look at the Psalms as a resource in worship. I explore what some of the original questions of the Psalm might be, and seek to re-imagine those questions for expression in the language of today.

I have always understood the Psalms to be an invitation for everyone to share their deepest thoughts and emotions to God, in an authentic way, and that is what I have hoped to achieve in this offering.

Taking themes from the Psalms such as Pathway, Lament, Refreshment, I re-imagine a collection of Psalms for reflection and meditation, offering an accompanying liturgy and suggestions for developing this into services.

This includes hymns, readings, and ideas to explore further. There are also some new Psalms for reflection and a Communion liturgy inspired by the Psalms, which can be used with any of the services, or on its own.

I like the idea that the Psalms wait for us to find our own meaning and voice in their expression.

The book of Psalms invites the praise of God to continue, and I hope that this book helps others to find their own voice, words and expression of how they relate to God today, amidst all of the heights and depths of human experience.

Particularly at this time, I trust the book might become a helpful resource to those who have the additional challenge of crafting new ways and opportunities for people to share in the praise of God.

I also hope the honest and heartfelt emotions of the re-imagined Psalms might connect with some of the deep experiences that we are facing in this very unsettling time.

Faith finds a friend in doubt,

and questions are partners in learning.

Why would you mind our seeking and searching?

We do not limit you,

but only ourselves,

if we do not keep asking.

You always invite us,

ever closer, ever deeper

to discover your wisdom.

Rev Lesley Stewarts other two books are: Where Two or Three are Gathered – themed resources for group worship and Celebrating Life in Death – resources for funerals, thanksgiving and remembering. All three of Lezley's books are available from Saint Andrew Press.