Sing to the Lord a new song…

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he performs amazing deeds.
His right hand and his mighty arm accomplish deliverance.
The Lord demonstrates his power to deliver; in the sight of the nations he reveals his justice.
He remains loyal and faithful to the family of Israel. All the ends of the earth see our God deliver us.

Shout out praises to the Lord, all the earth.
Break out in a joyful shout and sing!
Sing to the Lord accompanied by a harp,
accompanied by a harp and the sound of music.

With trumpets and the blaring of the ram’s horn,
shout out praises before the king, the Lord.
Let the sea and everything in it shout,
along with the world and those who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands!
Let the mountains sing in unison before the Lord.

For he comes to judge the earth.
He judges the world fairly,
and the nations in a just manner.

Psalm 98 (NET)

That´s tomorrow´s Introit – fitting for the 4th Sunday after Easter: “Cantate!” Sing, shout, break out with trumpets and horns, clap Your hands and sing in unison before the Lord – for He does marvellous things. For He delivers us from all evil. He judges in favor of His people and family – that´s fair and just – because He rules and reigns forever.

We´ve got a plate full of the most wonderful histories, accomplishments and promises from our good God´s side – from the profound biographies of King Saul with all his duplicity due to the dark struggles between good and evil Spirits coming from on high intertwined with that of his successor David – the handsome harpist from the sheepfold in the Old Testament lesson 1.Samuel 16:14-23. That´s the background and context of my sermon based on 2. Chronicles 5:2-5.12-14. We hear of the wonderful consecration of the temple in King Solomon´s time – the mind boggling sacrifices (“all the blood of beasts can´t save us!”), but also the harmonious choir of Levites singing and praising in blessed unison – just like the Psalm above demands.

The 3rd chapter of the epistle to the Colossions contains the epistle lesson prescribed for this Sunday. I think, reading the introductory verses will be helpful to get the picture of the Christian congregation and church being rescued and delivered from the old life, the old man and all his evil practices – and put into the new life and creation and body through our creator God and true, holy and only saviour – living by forgiveness, love, peace and thankfulness – in His kingdom, where His holy will is done and His holy name hallowed:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:12-17

The Gospel lesson taken from the 19th chapter of the holy Evangelist St. Luke adds our Lord´s strong words of fulfilment and more promises to this entire picture. Yes, he adds strict words of admonition and reprimand to the theologians and pious guardians and watchdogs of his day:

As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!”

Gospel of St. Luke chapter 19 verses 37-40

We´ve got a whole stack of lovely psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to sing tomorrow. So far, this is the list from our German hymnal:

  1. Eingang                     129 Tut mir auf die schöne Pforte…   
  2. Lessons                     039 (Ps.98) 1. Sam.16,14-23; Kol.3,12-17 ; Lk.19,37-40
  3. Vor der Predigt         205 Lob Gott getrost mit Singen ...
  4. Nach der Predigt       239 Nun freut euch lieben Christen gmein…
  5. Gebet                         453 Litanei vom hl. Altarsakrament
  6. Lied zur Bereitung:  476 Weit offen steht des Himmels Perlentor
  7. Ausgang                    499 Ewig steht fest der Kirche Haus…      

For now we will intone the delightful church hymn

1 No temple now, no gift of price,
No priestly round of sacrifice,
Retain their ancient pow’rs.
As shadows fade before the sun
The day of sacrifice is done,
The day of grace is ours.

2 The dying Lord our ransom paid,
One final full self-off’ring made,
Complete in ev’ry part.
His finished sacrifice for sins
The covenant of grace begins,
The law within the heart.

3 In faith and confidence draw near,
Within the holiest appear,
With all who praise and pray;
Who share one family, one feast,
One great imperishable Priest,
One new and living way.

4 For Christ is ours! With purpose true
The pilgrim path of faith pursue,
The road that Jesus trod;
Until by His prevailing grace
We stand at last before His face,
Our Saviour and our God.

Timothy Dudley-Smith (1926)

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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