Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Written By Committee

Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Written By Committee

Discussion Questions:

Psalm 46 in the King James Version (KJV)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 

Questions to consider

Psalm 46 as one of the author's favorite pieces to be "written-by-committee."  What is your favorite piece of writing or art that had more than one creator, and what do you appreciate about it?

Psalm 46 in the King James Version is provided here. Read it in three or four different translations. Which do you find the most powerful and effective, and why?

When have you felt God's stillness and presence in the midst of life's tumult?


Written By Committee

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah." - Psalm 46:1-3, King James Version

"Ok, ok," I've heard said (or said myself) in more than one committee discussion about written policies or procedures,  "Can someone volunteer to work on this and bring it back next time? The last thing we want to do is write-by-committee."

Written-by-committee has a bad rap, no doubt. It brings to mind images of people wandering around piles of words, aimlessly tossing them into the middle, arguing about them, discarding the ones they had chosen originally and then beginning again. The result of writing-by-committee, we insinuate, is as muddled and mediocre as the process.

And yet, if you ask me to tell you the most melodious words in the English language, I would certainly suggest you take a look at Psalm 46, in the King James Version. The Bible translations I read most often are vigorous and clear, accessible and inclusive.  But no translation of these tumultuous words punches me in the guts quite the way this one does. The KJV was not just written in committee with fifty or so writers. It was also in conversation with other English translations, with translations in other languages, with the original written text, and with the oral traditions that began it all.

When written-by-committee works, it really works, I guess.  Maybe this can be our encouragement the next time we're sitting around a committee meeting table, trying to find just the right words. Maybe this can be our reminder that the Holy Spirit can create beauty even from the most inefficient and inelegant of human processes.

Prayer

God, you are our refuge and strength. Ours. Remind us when you call us into communities, and even into committees, that you are calling us to do your sacred work.  Amen.

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