Bishop N.T. Wright told a packed audience at Royal Brougham Pavilion Nov. 13 that the Psalms are “the songs Jesus sang, and he wants us to sing them with him.”
Wright spoke about his new book, The Case for the Psalms, and called the Psalms the backbone of Christianity.
“Worship transforms us,” said Wright, the former bishop of Durham in the Church of England and a prolific author. “When we talk about Christian formation, we think of the Bible as a source of information, when it’s really for transformation,” he said.
The event started at 7 p.m., but the doors opened at 6 .m. to let the already forming line of people inside.
Wright said he’s found it puzzling that some Christians have abandoned the Psalms in their worship. He said Christians need to reclaim them in their worship. Wright said Jesus sang the Psalms throughout his life and that modern Christians should imitate that. He also said that Christians’ prayers should come from the Psalms.
Just as people feel different emotions in life, the Psalms contains a wide variety of emotions, Wright said. The Psalms include celebration, praise, worship, mourning and cries to God for help, Wright said. Wright encouraged the audience to find a discipline that works for them, saying the Psalms are essential for Christian living. Wright said Jesus wants Christians to sing the Psalms with him.
Junior Matt Heindel said he’s been fascinated with theology, more specifically ecclesiology — or the theology of the Christian church — since he was 16 years old. He said he would often ask the people he looked up to about the best scholars to read, and they usually recommended N.T. Wright.
“I have closely followed his ministry,” Heindel said. “From the critiques of John Piper to the praises of Tim Keller, N.T. Wright’s time in ministry has caught my attention.”
He said he’s enjoyed watching YouTube videos of Wright’s lectures. Heindel said Wright’s emphasis on worship in his lecture resonated with him the most.
“Jesus is worthy, and we ought to constantly recognize this with our lives more than just our words,” Heindel said.
Despite his admiration for Wright, Heindel said he didn’t agree with everything he said.
“There were moments where he seemed at odds with contemporary worship music, which I thought was largely unnecessary,” Heindel said.
Still, Heindel said he enjoyed listening to Wright explain and interpret the Psalms.
“The opportunity to gain knowledge and perspective from a prominent scholar in the worldwide Christian community is something that cannot be taken for granted,” Heindel said. “It would be an honor to attend another lecture of his, whether it is just on YouTube or in Royal Brougham.”
Junior Abbie Person said the lecture introduced her to looking at Psalms in a new way.
“I had never thought of them as worship music that Jesus himself had sung during his time and how we too should use them in our churches and daily life,” she said.
Along with that, Person said Wright’s lecture was enjoyable to listen to.
“He was engaging, funny, relevant, challenging and hopeful,” she said. “I think this was a great balance of all.”