Lent Day 39

Day 39: Friday, 19 April

Psalm 134

Praise in the Night

A Song of Ascents.

1 Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
      who stand by night in the house of the Lord!
2 Lift up your hands to the holy place,
      and bless the Lord.

3 May the Lord, maker of heaven and earth,
      bless you from Zion.

NRSVA

This is not the shortest psalm, though as a psalm of ascents I’d imagine you wouldn’t get far up the hill on one iteration on these words. The psalm is initially addressed to the Levites, the ones

Our corporate praise is predominantly morning praise. Wake up and praise the Lord!

When morning gilds the sky,
my heart, awakening, cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Our night time hymns can be a little less exciting

The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at thy behest,
To thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

This hymn is actually quite popular at funerals. I think it has been misunderstood a little, as it does hint at constant praise of God, though by others across the world in their various daylight hours. Of course, there is ‘Come bless the Lord’, which is based on these words, but evening worship has become an opt-out in most churches. We might want to settle down at home, to batten up the hatches as Sunday evening approaches, but God is to be worshiped at any time.

Our morning worship is probably more seat-based than upstanding. We’ll stand to sing, possibly for a Gospel reading in a communion service and that ninth lesson in the carol service, but not for many other readings. Prayers are not often recited in a standing position, and so this psalm’s call to bless God as we stand before him and raise our hands up towards his presence is not universally taken up.

Are we slipping away from ‘physical’ worship as expressed in the psalms?

Father God, set my hands to move at the impulse of Your love. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee. Amen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_O4uYFbVKo – a gentle evening song.

Scripture quotations are from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicised) of the Bible copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches in the USA. Used by permission. All Rights Reserved. 

Paul