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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, October 12, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 66:1–12

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
   sing the glory of his name;
   give to him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
   Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you;
   they sing praises to you,
   sing praises to your name.”

Come and see what God has done:
   he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
He turned the sea into dry land;
   they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him,
   who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
   let the rebellious not exalt themselves.

Bless our God, O peoples,
   let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living,
   and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us;
   you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
   you laid burdens on our backs;
you let people ride over our heads;
   we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place. (NRSV)

The most wonderful part of my job is leading a thousand or more people in singing the hymns every Sunday during worship services. Not only is it the most enjoyable, but it is also by far the most important thing I do each week. When we sing together we are united in one thought, contemplating words that were just written or words that have shaped Christians for more than a thousand years.

As we sing the musical phrases we even become united in one breath, breathing together at the end of the musical phrase and between each verse. There has been evidence that after a few of these breaths, most of our heart rates even become synchronized, beating together like one heart.

But the unity goes beyond just those in the sanctuary itself; we are united with generations who have sung these words and notes before us as well as the generations who will sing them after us—one continuous thread of praise to the God who made us.

I am so thankful that Fourth Church is a congregation that loves to sing, lifting our voices to God in an unending hymn of praise. I have a theory that you can tell if a church is healthy just by the way that a congregation sings, and judging from that Fourth Church is a very healthy church. Thanks be to God!

O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship, help us to sing your praises in all that we do. Help us to sing with joy knowing that you alone are being glorified. Help us to sing with understanding so that we may know you more fully. Help us to sing with abandon so that we may be lost in your love and wonder. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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