Around one year ago I decided to tweet once a day on the Psalms. The idea was to work through the Psalms, one-by-one, starting with psalm 1 and working through them in canonical order. The main reason I decided to do this was to give me a focus each day for engaging with Scripture as a spiritual discipline. I have missed eight days, one day in sympathy with a twitter boycott and seven days as a mark of respect after the sudden death of a close friend.
Having done the whole Psalter almost two and a half times, I am still fascinated by the task of capturing a psalm in a tweet. What criteria does one go for? There are a number of possibilities and questions behind the enterprise:
1. Do you try and capture the whole psalm in the tweet?
2. Do you home in on a key aspect which many readers will be familiar with?
3. Might you focus on something more obscure in the psalm? Perhaps to ensure your reader goes to the psalm?
4. Could you use captivating and inspiring poetic language?
5. Do you use some key words, or even actual text, from the psalm?
6. Might you just choose a representative verse?
7. Perhaps you should just give a title to the psalm?
8. Should the tweet offer a challenge or ask a question?
Of course none of these are right or wrong, they have different value for different people in the twitter-sphere.
One of the great things is that there are a number of people who are doing this. Many of them adopt #psalmtweets to make their tweets easy to find. Below I have cited some examples to illustrate what can be done with a psalmtweets.
Psalm 1: The bad life is a busy life, full of bluster and bustle; the good life is a reading life, full of the joy of Torah #psalmtweets
This tweet captures much of the point of psalm 1 and what makes it special is that its language echoes that of the original. The bluster and bustle connects with the wind blown chaff of the original, and the ‘reading’ parallels the static rootedness of the tree in psalm 1. If there was a prize for bringing poetic life to psalmtweets @FaithTheology would receive it.
Where’s God when life’s tough?
Bad guys get out of jail free?
Seems so. But God sees.
How to make the enterprise really tricky, write your tweet as a haiku. @DrMarkWagner’s tweets tend to capture the heart of the psalm with clarity and verve.
I lift my voice–in songs of praise and songs of lament. My voice breaks with the effort, passion, and emotion. Until… Silence. #psalm28
This is a great example of a thought provoking tweet when read in conjunction with the original psalm. The tweet ends were the psalmist in psalm 28 has asked not to be, but the silence of the tweet is not the consequence of a deaf deity.
Psalm 45: The Warrior-King reigns and rejoices in majesty; He welcomes His glorious Bride into His joy. #psalmtweets
This simple tweet captures what is a tricky psalm with wonderful conciseness, to the point of being a commentary for the confused. It even preserves the two strophes of the original text!
Psalm 56 (for Philip Seymour Hoffman). You seek me in my wanderings. You have counted all my tears; You keep them in a bottle #psalmtweets
They can also be timely; here reflecting on the tragic death of a great actor and a wonderful man. He was in my favourite film Magnolia (not all Christians will be comfortable with this film, but it is ultimately profoundly theological).
Marc La Porte@mlaporte74:
Psalm 21: Look back: celebrate past victories. Look ahead: anticipate future victories. Look up: exalt the LORD of victories #psalmtweets
This tweet recasts the whole psalm in a new and memorable light. This is a good reason for psalm tweeting, a good one can make a psalm memorable.
Robert W Moore@robmoore0330:
Psalm 105 “Seek the Lord and his strength: seek his face continually.” Entering the #Easter season, let’s cling to him daily. #eveningprayer
These psalmtweets can be, not only timely, but can also be an exhortation to prayer. This is sensible as surely the whole point of the Psalms is to help us pray.
Why not join in tweeting the Psalms. Reflect on and retweet those that you find rewarding. Have a go at writing your own. It has to be blessing to meditate on the Psalms day and night.