Monday, February 15, 2010

Worship good for the soul

Who knew that sitting down at the piano and singing some great hymns would be so GOOD for me?

I've been in more or less of a funk for quite a while (and I don't pretend to think at this point that it's over just because I'm in a good mood for the moment). I decided this evening that I really NEEDED to take my hymnal downstairs and just sing and play for a while. This is always a good idea, and after tonight I can't figure out for the life of me why it isn't an idea that occurs to me more often.

I can't also figure out why I haven't (at least for a long time) paid attention to my need to worship the Lord in English. Of course, all corporate worship service I've had the ability to attend to for a very long time has been in Czech (or Polish), and I simply haven't taken time in SO long to have a hymn-sing in the basement. For some reason, I think I have deceived myself into thinking that my Czech is good enough that I don't need to sing in English (and what a fool I am for falling for that deception...).

So much of what we do in corporate worship, in opening our lips to speak the Confession, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and all the hymns, are times when our own lips are speaking Christ's Word into our very ears, when the Lord opens our mouths that we might minister to ourselves on His behalf. I just a week ago for the first time spoke the Lord's Prayer in Czech in worship, and I still don't quite have the Apostle's Creed down, so at least I'm always speaking those in English. I follow along with the Scripture readings in my Bible, but faith comes by hearing, and what I am hearing is still largely foreign to my ears. And the hymns? Forget it.

Well, I thought it about time to get some of the Epiphany and Transfiguration hymns sung (especially my favorite, 'Tis Good Lord to Be Here, LSB #414), before Ash Wednesday comes, Epiphany has passed, and it's "too late."
I was really struck again by the words of "Songs of Thankfulness and Praise" and what a walk through the season of Epiphany it is. I also discovered a new favorite, #416: Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory

Swiftly pass the clouds of glory,
Heaven's voice, the dazzling light;
Moses and Elijah vanish;
Christ alone commands the height!
Peter, James, and John fall silent,
Turning from the summit's rise
Downward toward the shadowed valley
Where their Lord has fixed His eyes.

Glimpsed and gone the revelation,
They shall gain and keep its truth,
Not by building on the mountain
Any shrine or sacred booth,
But by following the Savior
Through the valley to the cross
And by testing faith's resilience
Through betrayal, pain, and loss.

Lord, transfigure our perception
With the purest light that shines,
And recast our life's intentions
To the shape of Your designs,
Till we seek no other glory
Than what lies past Calv'ry's hill
And our living and our dying
And our rising by Your will.

Amen! May the Lord transfigure our perception by His light, the pure light of His Word, may He shape our lives by it that we look to and long only for the upside-down glory found in His death on the cross. May our glory be all in His righteousness imputed to us! May we boast only in His cross, because we have nothing else of value in which to boast, as everything else we have is only filthy rags. And may this boasting and glorying in 'unworthy' and 'inglorious' things be done in songs of thankfulness and praise to our dying and rising Savior!

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