Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cathartic Experiences (Day 13)

Okay, so I don't know if you know this, but I was a theatre major.  Psalm 13 is a pretty short one, so when I read it, I noticed something.  In ancient Greek theatre, they had a concept called cathartic experience.  Basically, they'd convey some poignant emotion, one that's typically destructive (anger, hate, grief, etc) in the play, with the idea that the audience, by watching it, gets it out of their system. In the play, the emotion gets resolved (often by devastating events happening) and the idea is that by seeing characters on stage going through it, you don't have to yourself. That way the citizens of whatever Grecian city state put on the play, by watching, would be less likely to have unresolved emotions going forth from the performance. 

There is something to that concept.  I've had cathartic experiences. It's why I tend to turn to chick flicks when I'm sad or such. I can cry over the pain of a character, or cheer up with someone else's joy when I'm low, and I feel better. I express an emotion inside me through relating with a piece of art...

I think that's what is going on with this Psalm... I mean, I think it was a genuine portrayal of David's emotions when he wrote it. But I think it's been written to let us express the impatient anguish of the first few lines with David... and then resolve it with the last verse, proclaiming "But I have trusted in Your Mercy..."

Check out the Psalm below. And remember, tomorrow is the link up! I've decided you can pick any Psalm, 1-14 (instead of just 8-14) and we'll continue on like that, so that the last week you can pick any Psalm at all. Sounds fun, right?

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?
         How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
         How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
and hear me, O LORD my God;
         Enlighten my eyes,
         Lest I sleep the
sleep of death;
Lest my enemy say,
         “I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
But I have trusted in Your mercy;
         My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
 I will sing to the LORD,
         Because He has dealt bountifully with me.


  1. I agree. We use movies and tv like they did back then to get our emotions out. Sometimes we need our emotions jacked up lol.


  2. I think I'm the kind of person who NEEDS cathartic experiences in stories... I like "getting the sad out" at the movies rather than in socially inappropriate settings. I like seeing characters overcome things... and we do definitely see a lot of David overcoming with God's grace in Psalms.

    Also, I'm sorry for not calling you back today... I want to call you now, but I feel like it would be rude to call someone's house so late! So also, if you happen to be available.... I'm not going to bed yet.



Thanks so much for comments, they delight me! Please keep your comments civil and while I read every comment, I reserve the right to delete ones that are especially negative. Thanks!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...