RT @mwesterholm: Psalms in a sentence: “The invention of antiphony: when my heart broke in two, l taught both parts to sing.” @FaithTheology
Above is a tweet that I came across this week, that has stuck in my mind and my soul. I posted it on my FB wall, but with the caveat that I would change the sentence to read as such:
“The invention of antiphony: when my heart broke in two, God taught both parts to sing.”
I’m not sure where this quote came from; I included the entire tweet to try to give credit where credit is due. But regardless of where it came from, it is truth.
The word “antiphony” has three definitions in the dictionary:
- alternate or responsive singing by a choir in two divisions.
- a psalm, verse, etc., so sung; antiphon.
- a responsive musical utterance.
All three definitions can be applied to the Psalms. But I find the 1st and 3rd to be most relative to my experience with the Psalms.
The Psalms are where I first “sensed” a presence outside of myself—not human; spiritual. Enormous. Overwhelming. It occurred in Psalm 38. It was that Psalm which first led me to cry out to something-or someone-outside of myself. It was an experience I can’t even really describe. But it was real. And it began my seeking out of God at the deepest hurt of my soul. And I found myself saying to “God” the following verses:
“Hurry God!” was the cry of my soul, for I did not know if I could last much longer.
Since then, and since becoming a believer, I have returned to the Psalms over and over again to express my innermost thoughts and deepest wounds. I firmly believe God provided them for us in scripture so that we could “look over the shoulder” of the psalm writers and learn what true communication with God looks like. Praises. Joy. Sorrow. Anger. It’s all expressed in the Psalms.
Returning to the tweet above, it is also the Psalms that have been an integral part of carrying me through the wounding of a broken heart–a heart broken by crime, by abandonment, by divorce, by pain. I don’t know how often I’ve turned to the Psalms when I had no words for God. When I’ve had no words, period. It’s the God-ordained scripture of the Psalms that has provided a healing balm for my broken heart.
Is my heart still broken? Yes. Will it always be broken? I’ve come to the conclusion that it will. I don’t see it ever completely healing during life here on this broken world. I see it becoming perfectly whole when I gain heaven’s ground; but until then, there will always be a crack, a scar, a break in my heart for what has been and what will never be.
But, that doesn’t mean that my God has not healed. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not. There can be healing even in the midst of continual pain. There can be joy even in the midst of suffering. And there can be singing.
Singing is very important to me. Music is very important to me. It’s how I express my praise to my God. I really don’t sing well, but I love to do it. And, I can testify that this is truth: When my heart broke in two, it is God who taught both parts to sing. And it has been in that singing that healing has been manifested. Joy has been experienced. Tears have been dried, fear has been eased. There is not room for fear and praise in the same breath.
I’ll close with another section of an important Psalm to me. It’s found in Psalm 86. It asks God to gladden the soul of His servant. It declares that God is good and forgiving; abounding in steadfast love. Maybe your heart is broken in two. Maybe your wounds are deep. If so, I urge you to take a look at the Psalms. And then look at them again. And again. Let their words sink into the very fiber of your being–let their words become your words, and see if our God does not cause your broken heart to sing again.