As Psalm 134 closes our time in the Psalms of Ascents, we can note the spiritual journey we have traveled. Derek Kidner points out in his commentary that "The Songs of Ascents, which began in the alien surroundings of Meschech and Kedar (Ps. 120), end fittingly on the note of serving God 'day and night within his temple'." 1 Chronicles 9:33 says that the temple singers were on duty both day and night, and while the original context of Psalm 134 may have been for the temple priests, we are all invited to participate with Christ in worship in the spirit of endless song. As we anticipate the Paschal Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday) and Easter Sunday, let us worship with anticipation of God's blessing. (Daniel Snoke)
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up to the Lord!
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give Him thanks and praise!
CONFESSION OF FAITH
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
MEDITATION | Hebrews 2:10–13
"For it was fitting that he [Christ], for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
SING Psalm 134 (to the tune of the Doxology)
[Original lyrics by Lambertus J. Lamberts (1928), edited by Daniel J Snoke (2022)]
Come bless the LORD with one accord
You faithful servants of the LORD
Who in his house do stand by night
And praise him there with all your might
Lift up your hands and bless his name
From Zion may his blessings reign
The LORD who heav’n and earth has made
Bless you and keep you all your days
Read: Psalm 148 and Colossians 1:3-8
As we draw our reading of the Book of Psalms to a close, Psalm 148 provides an explosive round of praise for God as creator. All manner of creation is called upon to praise God. But as the psalm closes, special attention is given to the range of ways in which God's people offer praise to God.
"Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Your men and maidens together, old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the Lord... praise for all the saints." (v.11-14)
The psalmist includes a wide range for people in his list, and it is summarized with a reference to "all the saints." In the bible, the word "saint" does not refer to the special superheroes of the faith, but rather it is used to describe each of God's people who are made righteous by faith in Jesus. And yet, ordinary people often do extraordinary things. God's Spirit dwelling in his people helps us to do things which give him glory. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul said that God prepared good works in advance so that his people might do them (Eph 2:10.)
Our reading from the book of Colossians shows us that it is appropriate to acknowledge the good deeds of others and give thanks to God for them. Of course, this can be a little tricky. When we give thanks for someone else, we could end up elevating them too high or losing sight of God. But the danger of excess should not deter us from the appropriate recognition of others who have done a good job. We are told to give honor where it is owed (Rom 13:7.) In this particular passage, Paul says that he gives thanks for the Colossians in his prayers (v1:3). Then he goes on to highlight the important work of Epaphras in bringing the gospel message to the Colossians. Paul does not shy away from either thanking God for people (the Colossians) or pointing out that Epaphras was used by God for a good purpose.
Along those lines, I hope to continue our season of thankfulness by considering how our lives have been blessed by people around us. As you consider the many difficulties of the last two years, we have also wanted to look for signs of grace. How has God blessed you through the words and actions of people around you? As you think about this you can:
1.) Thank God in prayer.
2.) Send a note to that person and thank them.
3.) Send an expression of thankfulness for someone in our congregation to Nameun (Nameun@cityreformed.org.) We would like to join you in celebrating the way God has worked through members of our congregation.
I will say as a "postscript" that the people of our congregation have been remarkably gracious in their expressions of thankfulness to me and to other leaders in the church. (All visible leaders tend to receive more criticism and praise/thanks than normal.) In this exercise, I am particularly hoping that we can identify the gifts of people in our congregation that are less visible and appropriately recognize the way God has worked through our members for the good of us all. (Matt Koerber)
THURSDAY-MEMORIZE | Psalm 134
- Spend time memorizing the words of the Psalm as best you can -
SING: Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father
And to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning
Is now and ever shall be world without end
Many Christians throughout history have found it helpful to dedicate extra time for prayer, fasting, singing, and works of mercy during the week before Easter Sunday. As you anticipate remembering the saving work of Christ this weekend, here are a few ways you might do that:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever,
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.