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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, May 7, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all you peoples;
   shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
   a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
   and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
   the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
   the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
   sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth;
   sing praises with a psalm.

God is king over the nations;
   God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
   as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
   he is highly exalted. (NRSV)

I love it when a child in one of our children’s choirs sings with total abandon, singing out loudly, perhaps slightly off key, but with such total exuberance. Everyone smiles when this happens, because it can remind us of a time when we, too, were that expressive of our joy. Perhaps we are also a bit jealous of the innocent joy this child brings to worship.

Unfortunately, that innocent joy in worshiping God gets harder to experience for many of us as we get older. Psalm 47 is a reminder to each of us about how to worship God with the abandon of that child: “Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.” “Clap your hands”: be animated, be active with your mind, body, and soul; “all you peoples”: the entire world praising God in whatever form or fashion we know God to be. “Shout to God with loud songs of joy”: don’t hold back or restrain your voice in worship, but instead sing out loudly. Sing out like that child in the choir. Sing out the way John Wesley encouraged in 1761 in his “Directions for Singing” when he wrote, “Sing lustily—and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half-dead or half-asleep, but lift up your voice with strength.”

Perhaps all of us can learn to sing out loudly and with abandon from the psalmist, John Wesley, or from that child in the choir. All of us can sing out with more courage, pray with more intention, and worship God more fully with our whole being.

Lord of all creation, help me to loudly sing your praises with joyful abandon so all may hear of my love for you. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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