A Sabbath Song by Lynne McCarthy
Q. What’s good to do?
A. To praise the Lord in prayer and song, give Him thanks, hear His powerful Word, ponder His works and enjoy His unending love. (1-3)
Q. Does everyone do this?
A. God’s enemies refuse to recognize His great works and ponder His deep thoughts; their end is destruction. Israel watches their downfall while safe in Him. (5-9,11)
Q. What does God do?
A. For those who love the Lord, beauty and growth flourish as worshippers are renewed moment by moment in His righteousness and accept His gift of rest with thanks. (12-15)
Q. Who is this God?
A. He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. (15b)
Interpret A Sabbath song, as tradition goes, celebrating the blessing of gathered worship, morning and evening (2). There is sharp contrast between evildoers who seem to flourish for a time then vanish, and His people’s permanent, ever-flourishing dwelling in the courts of God (13). The stately date palm (12a) and cedar of Lebanon (12b) suggest longevity, rooted in God’s grace, fruitful, beautiful, and useful.
And the last few verses offer a foretaste of God’s eternal Sabbath song.
Apply It’s hard to get everyone, or oneself, out of the house (think ‘winter’!) and into the church before the service, making time to prepare for active worship. A “prelude” of quietness (admittedly difficult in all the preparations before worship begins), we tune out distractions, focus minds and hearts, pray, read the day’s Scriptures. Difficult but not impossible, it’s worth working at because our approach and attentiveness honour God.
Is ‘going to church’ onerous? Maybe we need to examine what our worship truly could be. In the company of God and our church family (local and worldwide, persecuted and free), we
- enter the narthex wanting to meet Him, together
- sense His Presence among us by His Spirit,
- consider our presence as we settle into our places,
- sing to Him from the heart, in various musical styles,
- listen carefully to the Word, read and preached, considering how to live it,
- declare our Creed with conviction,
- join the prayers of the people as His people,
- ask Him to give us what we need, especially His mercy,
- humbly confess, aware of our failures, and
- know Jesus forgave and we share His peace, knowing that
- forgiven, we enter and enjoy His Communion feast, to
- rejoice in being together after this brief, extraordinary time, then
- rest thankfully in His gracious welcome, on His Sabbath.
Ask How do I come to church? Rushed, harried, distracted -- late? Do I realize that I am in God’s presence (overwhelming!) so briefly? Do I come expecting God to transform me in learning to worship with His family?
Pray Almighty God, who has given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto You, and promises that where two or three are gathered together in Your Name You will grant their requests, fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of Your servants as may be most expedient for them, granting us in this world knowledge of Your truth, and in the world to come, life everlasting. Amen. (BCP, Collect at a Retreat)
Sing Psalm 92 Poor Bishop Hooper
A Song for the Sabbath
Psallos - Maker of the Stories
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.