Finding time to tremble this Christmas
Listen to this daily worship
Psalm 96 (NRSVA)
1 O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvellous works among all the peoples.
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Honour and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!
The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
He will judge the peoples with equity.’
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord; for he is coming,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth.
Have you ever thought that the angels’ song recorded in Luke 2:13-14 could easily be a response to King David’s Psalm 96 when he writes, ‘Sing to the Lord a new song’? What could be newer to human ears than to hear the heavenly choir — that surely is a new song. Psalm 96 invites us to get involved, to be willing to show our emotions, to celebrate all that God has done for us. I often think U2’s ‘Gloria’ is an invitation to go beyond yourself in praise and adoration. When first performed in the early eighties, this was seen as a fearless act of worship breaking into a rock music culture that had for years tried to sanitise gospel music. Bono was returning rock music to its roots in worship.
I try to sing this song
I, I try to stand up
But I can’t find my feet
I try, I try to speak up
But only in you I’m complete” (U2, ‘Gloria’).
We are called to proclaim his act of salvation day after day. Surely for us Christmas Day is a salvation day and that in itself is justification for all our celebration and praise.
To Be Opened Up
Open my lips
And my mouth will proclaim your praise — hallelujah
Open my heart
And my life will display your glory — hallelujah
Open my mind
And my soul will explore your mystery — hallelujah