"I will sing of the love of the Lord forever"

For my two years of study at Providence College, I was part of a vocal ensemble. We did several engagements at local churches throughout the year, and went on several longer extended tours, a week of travelling around Northwestern Ontario one year, a three-week trip to the East Coast another. What this all has to do with the lectionary is Psalm 89. At every engagement, our director, James Fast, sang a song -- which, if I remember correctly, had been written especially for his voice by a friend -- based on the words of Psalm 89.

1I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
through all generations.
2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, LORD.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
they celebrate your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength,
and by your favor you exalt our horn.

19 Once you spoke in a vision,
to your faithful people you said:
“I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
I have raised up a young man from among the people.
21 My hand will sustain him;
surely my arm will strengthen him.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, the Rock my Savior.’

A song can't accommodate all the words of such a lengthy song and still be memorable, so much was left out. Here's some highlights:

5 The heavens praise your wonders, LORD,
your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD?
Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome than all who surround him.
Who is like you, LORD God Almighty?
You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule over the surging sea;
when its waves mount up, you still them.
The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
you founded the world and all that is in it.
You created the north and the south;
Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.
Your arm is endowed with power;
your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
love and faithfulness go before you.

18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.

22 The enemy will not get the better of him;
the wicked will not oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
and through my name his horn will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
his right hand over the rivers.

It goes on with some warnings about what happens when God's people don't follow his commands, when they don't forsake his law and reject his chosen one.

Then there's a shift to despair, to a yearning for the justice of God. And thus with a plea for mercy from the Almighty One, it ends again with a note of praise. The love of the Lord is sung.

46 How long, LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how fleeting is my life.
For what futility you have created all humanity!
48 Who can live and not see death,
or who can escape the power of the grave?
49 Lord, where is your former great love,
which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
50 Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked,
how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations,
51 the taunts with which your enemies, LORD, have mocked,
with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.

52 Praise be to the LORD forever!
Amen and Amen.


Popular Posts