Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Psalm 111

Here's continuing with some brief thoughts on the lectionary Psalm for the week.  This is not meant to be a complete exegetical exposition, but a light devotional reflection.  I don't really cite the text a whole lot, so these thoughts might make a bit more sense if you take the time to read through the Psalm first.  It's a good habit to be in the Psalms regularly, and if you can only read one a week, I recommend the lectionary Psalm.  Reading it every day is a good way to prepare one's heart for worship on the weekend.  Here's this weeks devotional for Psalm 111 as given to the Our Savior Lutheran Church choir durring rehearsal last night.

Praise the Lord!  This sentiment is simultaneously a command and a declaration.  It both admonishes one to be about the business of saying something good about the Lord, while implicitly underscoring His inherent worthiness of said saying.  The rest of the Psalm is devoted to these two purposes.  It supports the command to praise with reasons why He is worthy.  By giving these reasons, the Psalm IS praising God by explaining the wonderful deeds He has done.  This models for us the directionality of worship:  It is directed both at God, to honor Him for his goodness, and directed at each other, as we exhort one another to praising by reminding of why God is worthy.  When we come together to worship, we rehearse for our edification and for God’s glory the things He has done, which reveal to us how good he is.  Yet there is more to this than a litany of facts:  The Psalm itself is an acrostic, which reveals to us the intentionally artistic manner in which the goodness of God is communicated.  Here God is instructing us through demonstration to use the best means at our disposal to express His praise beautifully.  This is why we practice to make our music the best it can be.  Music communicates that which cannot be put into words yet cannot remain unsaid.  In addition to this example of artistry, we find a further example of communication:  Remembrance.  When we come to worship, our emotions are stirred towards love and adoration of the savior not necessarily through aural manipulation, but through a recounting of God’s good works.  Let us consider how we can stir up one another towards love and good works.  The way we do this is by pointing to the cross, the highest theme of all song, where we see in its purest essence all love and goodness given by God to us.  Colossians 3:16 - Let the words of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  Our song, then, simultaneously teaches our church while stirring up thankfulness. 

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