WEEKEND FEAST LITURGY
Write your own psalm:
Psalm 124 has a symmetrical outline**:
A: Presence of the Lord
B: Protection from danger
C: Praise to the Lord
B': Protection from danger
A': Presence of the Lord
Spend time writing a short psalm from your own experience that uses the same outline. If you are worshiping with your family, try to reflect on how these experiences have been shared by all.
**(Longman and Garland, EBC, Psalms, Psalm 124)
Read: Psalm 45
2nd Reading: Heb 1:8-9
(Heb 1:8-9) ”But of the Son he says,
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’”
In is a natural human impulse to honor our heroes and celebrate their accomplishments. While the Bible acknowledges that there is proper praise and honor for humans, we are always tempted to offer a misplaced level of appreciation to important humans. In short, we are always tempted to treat humans like gods. Recently, I saw an example of this when I was talking to my kids about the Beatles. When the “Fab 4” hit peak fame in their early years “Beatlemania” produced extreme hysteria among the young ladies. Screaming, crying, fainting. (If you Watch this old video, it is remarkable.)
As we read Psalm 45, there are parts that can feel a little bit like “hero-worship.”
On one hand, we don’t want to dismiss the fact that there is a proper admiration of humans that do things well. Humans are made in the image of God and capable of extraordinary accomplishments. We recognize that God set up human kingship. And the whole nature of kingship was really set up to put one man on a pedestal above all others. Of course, in the hands of humans this was quickly corrupted. "Hero-worship” became an idolatrous distraction that places impossible pressure on mere humans. But, God had a purpose in kingship - to condition us to receive the one king who as truly worthy.
Psalm 45 straddles a line, both appreciating a human king who really leads with honor, but also looking past any mere human king and fixing our attention on the Christ who would fully embody this role. There is no doubt that the ancient Israelites would have sung this psalm in reference to their kings. The kings of Judah were sometimes good. (About 8 of 40 kings of Judah were considered “good.” The other 32, and all of the Kings of the northern kingdom of Israel were NOT good.) When they were faithful as king, it was said, that they resembled the great model-king, David. But even David had his serious flaws and failures. All of the mere humans in the Bible have feet of clay.
There are also things in this Psalm that direct our attention beyond any mere human king. We are reminded that the throne is “forever and ever (v.6.)” The psalm ends with a promise that the king’s name will be “remembered in all generations…. All nations will praise you forever and ever.” Some of these words, the author of Hebrews quotes directly in application to Jesus. While humans can sometimes point to the greatness of God, only Jesus can fully stand in the shoes of the ideal king described in Psalm 45. So, let’s consider how we can direct our attention to Jesus. We have no danger of disappointment or idolatry when we fix our impulse for “hero-worship” on the one who really deserves it!
City Reformed Presbyterian Church
The 90 Days project is a collaborative effort of many church leaders. Matt Koerber and Daniel Snoke have taken lead roles, with others helping to write daily devotionals.