Lent Day 32

Day 32: Thursday, 11 April

Psalm 22:22-end

22-24 Here’s the story I’ll tell my friends when they come to worship,
      and punctuate it with Hallelujahs:
Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers;
      give glory, you sons of Jacob;
      adore him, you daughters of Israel.
He has never let you down,
      never looked the other way
      when you were being kicked around.
He has never wandered off to do his own thing;
      he has been right there, listening.

25-26 Here in this great gathering for worship
      I have discovered this praise-life.
And I’ll do what I promised right here
      in front of the God-worshipers.
Down-and-outers sit at God’s table
      and eat their fill.
Everyone on the hunt for God
      is here, praising him.
“Live it up, from head to toe.
      Don’t ever quit!”

27-28 From the four corners of the earth
      people are coming to their senses,
      are running back to God.
Long-lost families
      are falling on their faces before him.
God has taken charge;
      from now on he has the last word.

29 All the power-mongers are before him
      —worshiping!
All the poor and powerless, too
      —worshiping!
Along with those who never got it together
      —worshiping!

30-31 Our children and their children
      will get in on this
As the word is passed along
      from parent to child.
Babies not yet conceived
      will hear the good news—
      that God does what he says.

MSG

What has happened to David?! From worm and no man to one who is re-energised in the company of worshippers! What do you say to friends when you come to worship? It always fascinates me that the space before the ‘official’ worship starts can be a hubbub of conversation, which invariably cuts itself short when a minister or the choir turn up. We come in to worship with an ounce or two of joy, and then we go solemn, work through a liturgy that allots time to be joyful, penitent, forgiven, peace-sharing and so on, until we get to the end of the service, and we start doing what we did before it started.

It may be that a worship band is playing away before the service and there’s perhaps a bit of worship and a bit of noise going on.

I’m not criticising worship services or liturgies, as long as they allow us both to cover what God desires of us at the particular point we stand in our corporate journey as Church and allow us to meet with Him. I do wonder, however, whether we can fall into the trap of letting the service carry us through on its own wave, and that we avoid the difficulties (personal relationships that need sorting, arguments that need settling, encouragement that a faint-of-heart is desperate to receive, support for the weak, correction, and the direction that God is taking us all) implied in the call on us not to give up meeting together. Can an organised form of worship cover all that?

Perhaps we need more than just one hour on a Sunday.

How can my church/fellowship be a place where verse 29 is evident in its fullness?

How will babies not yet even conceived get to hear the Good News?

Father God, I want to enter my place of worship with both joy and a longing to share something of your goodness in my life. I might not always feel like it; I might prefer to chatter and gossip; I might not have left stuff at the door. Revive me, Father, and make the leaving of my house the start of the procession. Amen.

Psalm 22 set to Anglican Chant (7 mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Whj3peHkYGY

All Scripture quotations are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Paul