Let’s talk about this amazing sermon series graphic, created by our friend Bruce Butler [check out his work at @wearewisebison]. We are posting this explanation with his permission.
The Psalms are often called “The Songbook of God’s People.” Written over the span of 900 years, most of them around the time of King David, the Psalms are the world’s most famous collection of sacred songs, hymns, and poems. But instead of the rhyme and meter of modern poetry, Hebrew poetry was characterized by symmetry, contrast, and parallelism. The mirror image of a chiastic structure is subtly represented in the background here.
Like the Psalms themselves, this image is characterized by both beauty and structure. It’s filled with images that engage the senses and make the observer stop and think about their meaning. Note for example the three concentric circles at the top. These represent the tri-unity of God, who is Father, Son, and Spirit in one. Even the color scheme – dark blue and gold – represents the power, authority, and royalty of God, and the prosperity of the life that follows him.
Theologians agree there are several different types of Psalms. Five of them are represented in this artwork:
1) Lament – Represented by the darkness of an eclipse, the two drops for blood and tears, and swords surrounding, as a theme of “laments” are often enemies closely pursuing.
2) Wisdom – The heart and a book represent internalizing knowledge. The tree is from Psalm 1, which says the wise man is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in its season. The diamonds are representative of the proverb, “Wisdom is better than treasure,” as well as the purity and strength wisdom brings.
3) Praise – The harp and the trumpets represent the praise we give to God, joining in with the never-ending praise around his throne. This infinite praise is represented by the day and night icons above and below.
4) Royalty – The throne, jewels, and Alpha and Omega banners depict God as King of kings forever.
5) Thankfulness – The open hands of thankfulness to God are paired with grain, a representation of his providential provision and care for us. Jesus (symbolized by the open tomb above) and the Holy Spirit (symbolized as Pentecostal fire below) allow us access to the throne to give our thanks to God.