Monday, February 03, 2014

On Repeat

The song on repeat in my head and on YouTube today is "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation" (Fernando Ortega has a great version). I'm so thankful for the aligning power of corporate worship. Sometimes you have to take the alignment on faith; other times, every song, every verse, the confession, the sermon, the Lord's Table, it all feels like an arrow shot straight and true as it hits its mark.

I say that by way of preface because this was our first song yesterday in church. Preface point #2: when I was in seminary, David Powlison would often begin class by "exegeting" a favorite hymn. As these words flooded over me yesterday morning, I tried to take note of why they calmed my facing heart and how they could and should become a centering point for my week.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.
My primary purpose here is to praise, and I get to praise the all-powerful, omniscient creator and ruler of all creation. Oh, my soul, do praise him - shed all of the frustrations of the morning, the tears and wrangling and spilled yogurt. You have everything you need: health and salvation. And those come from God alone, regardless of what your heart tells you all week long. He alone is your health and salvation; he gives you everything you need, perfectly timed and allocated, irrespective of when and how you think you should have your needs met. Stop fretting, calm your racing, distracted, exhausted heart; hear his call, draw near to him and praise him in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
 One reason to stop and to praise God is that he reigns over everything; but he is not only all-powerful, he is also gentle, caring and intimately involved in the smallest details of your needs. He shelters you under his wings like a mama duck, and he gently sustains you in every breath, in every toddler crisis -- what a contrast to my frenetic responses, but as my perfect Heavenly Father, he is gentle with me and with my children, even in the midst of the fray. Have you ever not had what you truly need? Haven't your desires gradually been shaped by the Lord so that you can, indeed, say that your desires have been granted in what he ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.
 Here is a funny one for a stay-at-home mom: he prospers they work and defends thee. All the seeming futility, he does in fact prosper. Feeling battered and totally beaten down by the end of the day; he defends thee. His mercies are new every morning; but, in fact, his goodness and mercy attend me all day long. "Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, if with his love he befriend thee." He has, in fact, already befriended me, and he has set his love upon me for eternity, so I can approach each day, each week expecting to see the Lord at work, especially knowing that his goodness and mercy are always with me. Dare I say that I should always be living as though my cup overflows?
These are two verses I've never heard before, but they were on the website where I grabbed the lyrics, and I'm including them because I thought they were quite nice:
Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.
Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.
Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him;
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.
I love how old hymns crescendo - there's no halfhearted praise here. "All that is in me... all that hath life and breath ... gladly for[ever] we adore him." I don't have anything profound to say here ... only, Let the Amen sound from this daughter again, and again, and again, because I need this reminder until I meet the Lord in the presence of his people and am realigned again next week.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Thanks for sharing this, Molly! It us one if my favorite hymns - one I have sung over and over to my boys, especially on those nights in the hospital with M when I so desperately needed the reminder that God has ALL THINGS held firmly in His hand. The LCMS lyrics to the 2nd verse are slightly different: "Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things is wondrously reigning And as on wings of an eagle uplifting, sustaining. Hast though not seen all that is needful has been sent by His gracious ordaining?" In comparison, I love the imagery of being sheltered under His wings. I join with you: Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!