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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, November 12, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 78:1–7

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord,
and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments. (NRSV).

Hey everyone, let’s all recite Philippians 4:4! Ready, go! . . . Uh. . . umm. . . nope, not so much. But, how about if we shared that verse by saying, “Hey, everyone! Fill in the next word to this song! ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say—’” I think a lot more of us would jump right in, and some of us would even throw in two claps at the end! I know our children would.

We learn so much through song. We learn important concepts with joy and participation and man, does it stick in your head! Today’s psalm text is a preface for a “Maskil of Asaph.” It basically says, “Listen up, you’re about to learn something through song!” When I was little, my dad used to say, “Watch my mouth” when he really wanted me to “get” something. I also remember my own sons gently putting their little hands on each side of my face and turning my head to focus on them as they made their urgent point. The psalmist here tells how important it is to teach our children, the coming generation, “the glorious deeds of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous deeds he has done.”

The very best way I have found to do that is to sing! That is the purpose of a Maskil—an instructional song. “Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burnin’, burnin’, burnin’” teaches us the good news of the parable in Matthew 25. “Deep and Wide,” a riotous favorite among four-year-olds,  shores up what Paul tells us of God’s love in his letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:17–19).

So, hey, everyone! Let’s recite Psalm 118:24—nope, probably not. But how about, “This is the day. . . that the Lord has made. . . . We will rejoice, and . . . ” You’ve got it! Good luck getting that song out of your head! 

God, thank you for the ability to convey your wonder to our future generations. Thank you for not requiring any words at all when we come to you in prayer. Amen

Written by Katy Sinclair, Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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