I was so thrilled to hear that St. Kurt Willems got the chance to ask N. T. Wright a question about the psalms...that is basically the same question I would have asked!
Psalms of lament and imprecation aren't often enough set to contemporary worship songs (just ask Mark DeRaud). In a helpful post ( "WE NEED MOURNING WORSHIP SERVICES"), Pasta Spin laments that we don't lament enough in church/as church. I make the case that when the church doesn't lament, society finds a way to remind the church of its calling (, anyone?)
I love teaching a class (Pasta Spin teaches it, too), where students are challenged to find contemporary songs that are worshipful.
I enjoy challenging them to cite examples of contemporary songs/psalms of lament; songs that are not "happy-clappy"(hear Bono talk about this phenomenon in the video below)
I have several tunes that work for me
(see , "Low" by The Violet Burning,
Praying with Pink Floyd, "Make it a Double" and posts labeled "lament.")
Often, students have never considered--until hearing the history of Psalms
--that such would be "appropriate" for worship.
But let's stretch a little more. If all the psalms have precedent for liturgical/musical use..how about those delightful songs of imprecation?
How about a little ditty on Psalm 56:8"
"Break their teeth, O God!"
(Love the irony that the inscription on this psalm reminds us it was to be "sung to the tune of 'Do Not Destroy''....ha! and don't miss the tune title for Psalm 22. See )
But the one I've often wondered about is the one Kurt asked Wright about:
Is there a place for chanting/singing Psalm 139:7:
"Blessed is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks."