Playing Psalms: Games and Goodness — An Invitation

I don’t think there’s ever been another New Year so highly anticipated by the masses of our lifetime as 2021. When we consider all the challenges of the past year, we are more than eager for a new beginning. It’s after a year like 2020, we wonder — from where does our hope come? Psalm 121:1 answers that very question with a deep, abiding truth: “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” 

If we are to take this Psalm at its word, we must trust that for 2021 to be better — more full of hope, more full of joy — we will have to be intentional about looking to God. We’ll need to —

  • be honest with ourselves and God.
  • seek Him first and most. 
  • lean on each other for encouragement and accountability. 

And, that’s exactly why I am excited to extend this invitation to you!

Photo by Kate Macate on Unsplash


Come, frolic and play with me as we seek God in His Word together. These first few weeks of 2021 can hold the key to freedom and fresh starts if we’ll set our focus on Jesus, allowing Him to guide us into all He has for us.

With your invitation in hand, read on to find out more about Playing Psalms: Games and Goodness.

On the chance that we might believe our woes are unique to our generation, we can humbly open the pages of Scripture to see that people have been plagued with poverty, pestilences, provocations, and even pandemics since, well, forever.

This truth becomes one of the greatest gifts of the Bible. We can read its words for comfort and assurance that we’re not the first to face such hard times and that we have a God who goes through it all with us, equipping and encouraging us along the way.

God’s Word also helps us remember and realize that even people like David, the great King of Israel, had much to mourn and grieve and lament. Like us, he questioned God and doubted his own faith. He wondered why it looked as though God’s enemies were prospering when God’s people were not. He demonstrated for us what it looks like to come to God with honesty and reverence, with all hurts and hopes, requests and questions. 

And so it is — how the Book of Psalms came to be filled with such writings, mostly penned by this poet-king, David. It is a book worthy of our attention and application, certainly for theological understanding but also for collective and personal perspective.

Photo by Jessica Delp on Unsplash

If you’re like me, I’ve had a distant relationship with the Psalms for most of my life, loving the few verses I know well from its 150 chapters, yet not sure what to do with the rest. Then, I spent the fall of 2020 reading every word of this prolific book of poetry as part of a study with Jen Wilkin at The Village Church (virtually, of course). 

After months of pouring over these lines of poetry that once felt foreign, I now feel the roots of wisdom growing deep in my heart, blossoming to life within me. It’s why I come to my blog to share my learnings with you — in the hope that you, too, might find a seed of truth to carry with you into your day, into your life.

So that we aren’t tempted to dread what we might assume to be a boring book of archaic analogies, I’ve added an element of play. In our recent Playing Psalms: An Advent Series, our time in the Royal Psalms took our imaginations into an auditorium where we became the audience, challenged and moved by a four-act play about Christ, our Messiah and King.

Similarly, in this new series, we’ll continue to play with the Psalms. Only this time we’re headed outdoors — no masks required. In fact, it would be most effective if our imaginings would allow us to place ourselves in our childhood play spaces.

What was your play space? A front yard? A nearby empty lot? A school’s recess area? A neighbor’s wide open farm? An alley behind your house? Or a tree-lined creekbed of your neighborhood? 

Get a clear view of what that place was for you. Imagine the sun shining, the birds singing. Picture yourself running with abandon, no cares in the world — ready to play.

This is the setting for our following frivolity — and your invitation to jump into the high jinks of this journey. And, like every fun-loving kid, be sure to grab a few friends to come play with us. 

We’ll keep the rhythm of getting together every week with a new post going up every Sunday morning — though you’re free to click-in any time.

What we’ll discover as we play our way through six Psalms is that, like the games of our childhood, Psalms hold memories, mystery, and meaning that will shape us, even change us, so that we look and act more like our forever friend, Jesus.

Ready to start the New Year well, Shelley Johnson

PS — If you’d like to prepare for next week, read Psalm 25.

Header photo by Ramin Talebi on Unsplash

Published by Shelley Linn Johnson

Lover of The Word. And words. Cultivator of curiosity about all things Christ. Lifelong learner who likes inviting others along for the journey. Recovering perfectionist who has only recently realized that rhythms are so much better than stress-inducing must-do's.

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