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The Psalter (1): Importance of Learning Psalter Numbers Young

It was the summer after my senior year of high school. I went to the Young People’s Convention. Perhaps you’ve heard stories about the convention from your older brothers and sisters?  

I enjoyed the conventions, but my favorite memory is not the banquets or hanging out with friends or the games or anything you’ve probably heard stories about.  

It was a clear night. The stars flickered far above. About a hundred of us had gathered around a bonfire. And we started singing—not your usual campfire songs, but Psalter numbers. None of us had a Psalter with us. It was all from memory, with Rev. Van Overloop helping out with the first lines of the verses if we ran stuck.  

Long into the night, we sang, singing a large chunk of the Psalter by the time we were done. Often, we had all four parts of harmony, even when singing without a piano and from memory.   

These were Psalter numbers we’d grown up learning, memorized as children at home, at church, during Sunday School, at school. It might seem like a lot of work now, memorizing a Psalter number for Sunday School or a school program. But the songs you learn now will be the ones you can sing to praise God even when you don’t have a Psalter with you. They are the songs that will sing in your heart when you’re happy and comfort you when you’re sad. They are the songs you share with your family, and they are the songs we share as a church.  

For the next few months, we’re going to look at the history God in his providence used to bring about the Psalter we use today.