The Book of Psalms:
Calling Out From the Depths
Spiritual Resources for Contemporary Life
Welcome to Calling Out from the Depths. Here we present a unique collection of contemporary interreligious reflections on the Book of Psalms. Clergy, scholars, poets, musicians, activists, and visual artists offer personal reflections on these ancient and time-honored texts in light of contemporary events and mores, building on the wisdom of the past. The website provides visitors with a timely spiritual anthology that includes multimedia resources and new pathways into the biblical texts and stirring meditations on life.
One other key difference between this project and most earlier works on the Psalms is that this site is intentionally interreligious. While it is true that for centuries Jews and Christians have turned to this collection for guidance and inspiration, there have been far fewer opportunities for members of these two communities and others to explore the sources together as fellow seekers. What do we share in common? Where do we differ? How might reading these texts through the lens of the “other” impact our understanding of life and our celebrations and struggles of what it means to be human?
The goal of this interreligious psalms project is not to collapse our distinct traditions, but to share resources thoughtfully in today’s complex and increasingly interconnected world.Rabbi Or Rose, Director of Hebrew College's Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership
Introduction to the Psalms
“In turning to these ancient poetic works, modern readers join a diverse intergenerational chorus of Jewish, Christian, and other seekers who viewed these sources as a prism through which to explore their deepest thoughts and feelings, and to share them with God and their communities.” — Rabbi Or RoseRead Rabbi Rose's full essay
Psalm 6: A Cry for Healing
In this brief but stirring poem, the psalmist gives voice to the pain and terror of embodied vulnerability. The image of the poet’s tear-soaked bed speaks to us across the ages. Where can we find healing? Is the the act of crying out itself a step toward restoration?Explore
Psalm 8: Our Place Within Creation
Psalm 8 opens with a direction to the chief musician to perform upon the gittith. The New King James Version calls it “the instrument of Gath.” It is said that the heavenly imagery of the Psalm is likened to the inspiration drawn from the psalmist meditating on God’s creation and the human being’s place in it.Explore
Psalm 23: Fear No Evil (?)
Psalm 23, one of the most well known biblical texts in modern Western culture, invites us to think about the peaks and valleys of life as components of one, ultimately redemptive, journey. The pastoral imagery was intended to activate the ancient reader’s imagination, helping them to experience God’s shepherding presence in their lives.Explore
Psalm 27: Trust & Lament
The psalmist opens this poetic reflection by confidently declaring trust in God’s saving powers, but then quickly laments the presence of dangerous enemies roundabout and prays fervently for deliverance. Where does the poet arrive at the end of this liturgical journey?Explore
Psalm 51: How Do We Respond to Our Misdeeds?
How do we attend to our sins? In Psalm 51 we explore the themes of contrition and forgiveness through the life of the biblical figure of King David. How does the monarch respond to his wrongdoing? What does it take or him to own up to his guilt?Explore
Psalm 90: Moses’ Prayer for Humanity
The goal of life, according to the poet, is to “obtain a wise heart” (v. 12). Knowing that the human lifespan is limited, the psalmist urges us to think about how we spend our days. How can we actively participate in the prospering of the “work of our hands” (v. 17)?Explore
Psalm 133: The Gifts of Community
This brief psalm addresses the possibility harmonious communal life, based on shared power and responsibility. What roles do Moses and Aron play in the Torah (Pentateuch)? How does the ancient poet articulate the relationship between the people of Israel and their natural environment?Explore
Psalm 137: "By the Waters of Babylon"
The composer(s) of Psalm 137 take us to the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, beckoning us to behold the terrible sight of a displaced and downtrodden people. Where does the narrator sit in relation to this exilic scene? How might we respond to closing cry for violent retribution?Explore
Explore Psalms Teaching & Learning Resources
We invite you to explore an array of contemporary reflections on select psalms that address the full breadth of human emotion, including sadness, disappointment, and rage, as well as joy, gratitude, jubilance.Explore our psalms resources
This site was inspired by a successful 2020 online initiative titled Psalm Season co-sponsored by Hebrew College and the Interfaith Youth Core (now Interfaith America), and a joint course offered on the Psalms offered by Dr. Andrew Davis of Boston College School of Theology & Ministry and Rabbi Or Rose of Hebrew College. This site was graciously funded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). We also would like to thank the Marketing Department of Hebrew College for designing the website.