I love reading mystery novels. Agatha Christie, P. D. James, Anne Cleeves to name but a few. I was reading a new author the other day. The book’s setting was the Shetland Islands, off the coast of northern Scotland. We were there a number of years ago. We especially enjoyed the town of Lerwick. We were greeted by a warm and friendly man who welcomed us to his town, giving us a local map. On the back of this helpful map was the Gospel message of Jesus Christ! Never had that happen before.
Back to this recent mystery book that I read, the author made reference to church singing in the isles of Scotland. It’s called Gaelic Psalm-singing. I had never heard of it before. Have you? So, I searched the internet, and low-and-behold there were lots of references to this regional form of congregational singing by the Presbyterian Scots. Another name for this form of corporate singing is precentering, where either a cantor or the pastor reads a phrase from the Psalm of the day and then the congregation responds to it with a very different melody or sound. Some think Psalm-singing began in response to a largely illiterate people who couldn’t read but could repeat what they heard, singing from their hearts in worship to the Lord. It is quite remarkable and beautiful.
Psalm 106 has a verse that is well worth repeating. Verse 1 says ‘Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!’ Does that verse sound familiar to you? It did to me, so I looked it up in my concordance– and it is sung throughout the Old Testament. And I mean throughout! Check it out for yourself.
When the Ark of the Covenant is brought into the Tabernacle in 1 Chronicles 16:34, there it is–God is good and His love is steadfast, sure and stable, sincere and secure.
Then 2 Chronicles 5:13, the same is sung by all at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple. When the Temple is rebuilt following return from exile in Babylon, as the foundation is being laid, the people sing again about God’s goodness and His love which knows no bounds.
When the prophet Jeremiah writes about the coming redemption of the Lord in chapter 33: 10-11, there is that same call to thank the Lord who is so good and loving. There are more, but the ultimate is Psalm 136, where that phrase ‘for His steadfast love endures forever’ is the 2nd part of each and every verse. All 26 verses have the congregation repeating that same thought… each and every time. Why not make today a day of praise and thanksgiving to our God, who is good as good can ever be, and more loving than we can ever imagine. That’s something worth repeating! Psalm-singing by all God’s children!
Prayer: Lord, you are so loving and good. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.