Thursday, March 14, 2013

Orthodox Thursday: Christ in the Psalms

Today on Orthodox Thursday, I'm reviewing a book by one of my favorite Orthodox authors, Patrick Henry Reardon. How much do I love his books? Let's just say that I own all of them. However, Fr. Reardon is more than an author. He's also the senior editor of the magazine Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity and the pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church. You can listen to his homilies here, courtesy of Ancient Faith Radio.

Christ in the Psalms was originally published back in 2000 but has since been revised. If you own the original, like myself, you will first notice a more substantial introduction. In this edition, Fr. Reardon explains "The Unity of the Bible," "The Voices of the Psalter," and "The First Three Psalms." I never noticed this about the Psalms before, but the first three chapters form a theological outline for the whole book. The other major changes occurred in Fr. Reardon's commentary on Psalms 73, 75, 90, 94, and 106. Bear in mind this is the Septuagint numbering as the Septuagint Old Testament has 151 Psalms.

As the title suggests, this book is a devotion/commentary on the book of Psalms with Jesus as the light by which to read them. With a commentary for each chapter, this book is just over 300 pages. However, don't let the size of this book intimidate you. Each commentary is only 1 page front and back, making it both manageable and enjoyable to read at your own pace. I recommend reading a Psalm and commentary in the morning and one at night. Using this schedule, one can make it through the book in other 3 months, but one a day is also a good reading pace.

It is easy to read some Psalms and see how they relate to Jesus, like Psalm 23 (Psalm 22 in the Septuagint). However, don't think that this is just merely "The Good Shepherd Psalm." Fr. Reardon provides further insight that one may have never noticed before. In the 23rd Psalm, one can also see the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and Chrismation/Confirmation). That explanation blew my mind, and I will never look at Psalm 23 the same way again.

This is a book you must have in your library. I simply wish I could give it more than 5 stars. The only hard decision to make, when it comes to owning this book, would be if you own the original edition. You will have to decide if the changes mentioned above are worth buying the revised edition. I personally would, but that's just me. Check out Fr. Reardon's complementary title Christ in His Saints also available from Conciliar Press.