Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Cry of Children and Youth

Just came back from Sunday School training organized by my homechurch. The trainers are from Scripture Union Singapore. They are amazing people with great passion for the work of God in young people's lives. We had fun and learned a lot. I'm grateful that I was there. It was such an encouragement for me to press on in the ministry to young people.

And it's a song that one of the trainer introduced to us.

I can't wait to listen to more children singing this song earnestly from their heart. I think one of the joy of ministering to young people is when I will know that 10, 20, 30 years from now they still love God and serve God faithfully.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Voicing God's Psalms: A Festival of Psalms

In TTC chapel today, we were having a festival of psalms. It is mentioned in the booklet that the order of worship is based on the book "Voicing God's Psalms" by Calvin Seerveld, Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Aesthetics at the Institute of Christian Studies, Toronta, Ontario Canada (Used by permission.)
More information from the booklet:
In his book, Seerveld arranged his translations of the Psalms into nine themes: Torah, Melchizedek, enemies, repentance and forgiveness, wrestling with the LORD, comfort, trusting God, God-promises and hallelujah. The book contains thirty seven psalms from the book of Psalms and several psalmic passages from the Old and New Testaments.
     In his introduction, Calvin Seerveld wrote: "God's psalms contained the Older First Testament, as well as the "psalms" in the Second Newer Testament, are meant to be heard. For God's psalms to be heard, somebody must read them. To learn to read the biblical book of Psalms, one does well to realize and not a simple prose series of human declarations. The biblical psalms have the LORD God talking through the embattled confessions of children adopted by God who are in the grip of God's Spirit. Yet, in the psalms, God is also talking live to anybody today, worldwide, who will listen."
     The order of worship follows the nine themes featuring one or two of the psalm under each heading. It is hoped that from  this worship experience the faithful will be inspired to revisit the psalms and use them creatively in worship.

TORAH (God's Law)
"We are cradeled as human creatures in God's fantastic and ordered world"
Psalm 8
Psalm 8 celebrates the amazing LORD God whose creatures, like the starts and prowling animals, are astonishing wonders. And God makes us small humans to be lords over all these creatures.

"Our daily life happens amid a rough tumble of public historical struggles in from of God's face."
Psalm 2
Psalm 2 confronts us with the historical reality of power politics. Yet the LORD God laughs at every Nebuchadnezzar and Herod who vaunts his cruel domination. The LORD promises that those whom God anoints will be safe from the Evil principalities which beset us. Whoever follows the Anointed Messiah, the Christ, will find shelter.

"Entreating God for help against implacable enemies can teach us to voice unashamed expectation of rescue"
Psalm 22
Psalm 22 contains the anguished cry Christ quote on the cross: "My God, O my God, why have you left me in the lurch? You cared for me as a baby and have always saved my forebears. Lowering evil persons are set to make mincemeat of me - I'm scared to death! Hurry up! Help me!" and the last paragraph of Psalm 22 - which Christ also know ended the psalm - thanks the LORD for coming through with rescue: so I'll praise the LORD right here among the congregated faithful!

"Nothing frees us up like coming clean before God about our sin. Brutally honest prayer to the LORD, admitting guilt and nakedly beseeching forgiveness, brings merciful relief."
Psalm 51
Psalm 51 has not a single word of excuse, because David was caught by God red-handed in adultery and murder. "Iam a pervert!"cries the sinner. :But do not take your Holy Spirit away from me! O God, wash me until I become whiter than snow. Save me from myself! Do not reject my chastened heart yielded up to you as an offering." A later coda incorporates this personal confession of sin into a liturgical worship setting for rebuilding the city of God.
Kyrie Eleison

Psalm 130
Psalm 130 cries out to the LORD from the depth of despair: If you, O God, kept track of guilty wrongdoings, who could ever withstand such judgment! But the LORD God sets people free and wipes out transgressions! Anticipate that merciful, saving Word of the LORD they way a night watchman waits for the light in the morning.

"When a person has to hang tough for the long haul, direct intimate talk with God can revive the zest of being hopeful and the thirst for the LORD's coming."
Psalm 139
Psalm 139 is a most intense expression of intimacy and love about how utterly and unfathomably the LORD God knows me, my habits and quirks, even my provisional thoughts, my every day from the womb to the grave. There is nowhere and no time I am not held safe in God's embrace. So let me curse those who hate you, LORD, utters the psalmist. But make certain, O God, that I myself am pure at heart and hold me with your hand on the way of everlasting life.

"The comfort God gives for our down times is ongoing and lasts forever"
Psalm 90
Psalm 90 recognizes that our 70 or 80 years of many troubles and occasional joys flash by like just yesterday to God. But you, my LORD, says the psalmist, have always been the place where we can feel at home. So, gentle us with the smile of laughter, LORD God.

"Trusting the LORD to carry us through difficulties leads to our being surprised by receiving more than we need, so we want to dance at the surplus of God's grace."
Psalm 62
Psalm 62 teaches that only God is the Rock to which one can run for refuge. Aggressive deception, accumulation of goods, importance gained by violence all bring agitated insecurity. Only near God can a person find the stillness of peace.

In God alone my soul can find rest and peace, 
in God my peace and joy
Only in God my soul can find its rest,
find its rest and peace

"The LORD God's promises of deliverance from evil and the rule of shalom coming are freely offered to all who hear the Word to be daily obedient like God's servant the sun."
Psalm 34
The thematic development of Psalm 34 moves from praise for God's deliverance to wisdom instruction in "the fear of the LORD." The person who sings this psalm commits to praising the LORD and calls all people to do the same, for God delivers and protects those who fear the LORD. "Taste and see," exhorts the psalmist, that this is so. Instruction in "the fear of the LORD" points to seeking God's peace and keetping the tongue from evil.

PS: I actually prefer this video. But they don't allow me to embed here. Check it out! It's my favourite song of today :)

"Happy hours are good times to praise Yahweh in the company of the faithful"
Psalm 103
Psalm 103 celebrates richly the tender, forbearing mercies of the LORD who does not deal with us according to our sins. As far as East is from West, so far God removes from us our dirty deeds. The LORD knows we are feeble earthlings, but remains faithful to generations of those who remember to do God's will. Along with all the angels, let all of me too praise the LORD!
Bless the LORD, O my soul 
and all that is within me
Praise and bless the LORD,
O my soul,
Bless God's Holy name
Music by: Timothy Kimbrough