1 Praise GOD: ye servants of the LORD, O praise, the LORD’s name praise. 2 Yea, blessèd be the name of GOD from this time forth always.
3 From rising sun to where it sets, GOD’s name is to be praised. 4 Above all nations GOD is high, ‘bove heav’ns his glory raised.
5 Unto the LORD our God that dwells on high, who can compare? 6 Himself that humbleth things to see in heav’n and earth that are.
7 He from the dust doth raise the poor, that very low doth lie; And from the dunghill lifts the man oppressed with poverty;
8 That he may highly him advance, and with the princes set; With those that of his people are the chief, ev’n princes great.
9 The barren woman house to keep he maketh, and to be Of sons a mother full of joy. Praise to the LORD give ye.
This Psalm can be sung to the tune St Ethelreda which you can hear here.
Psalm 113 is one of the Hallelujah Psalms (Psalms 111-118). It is also the first of a collection of six psalms (Psalms 113-118) that are known as the Egyptian Hallel and are used in the celebration of Passover. This Psalm is a call to praise. A call made to all God’s people or indeed all creation to praise God.
The Psalm pivots on the central question (metaphorically and physically) Who can compare unto the LORD our God? It is a rhetorical question needing no answer other than the given description of God transcendent yet fully involved with God’s creation. We see an outline of God’s care for God’s suffering people (hence its use within the Passover liturgy.)
The Psalm goes on to underline why we are called to praise. Called to praise because of the Kingship of God, a king with a preferential option for the poor.
In other words, explains the Psalm, we are called to praise God, because God not only has an equalities manifesto but is active in lifting the poor giving them a position amongst respected citizens.
“7 He from the dust doth raise the poor, that very low doth lie; And from the dunghill lifts the man oppressed with poverty;
8 That he may highly him advance, and with the princes set; With those that of his people are the chief, ev’n princes great.”
Of all potentially marginalised people barren women are also identified. The security of women was predicated on their roles in relation to men – daughters, wives, mothers. To be barren led to being outcast within the Israelite society.
The manifesto promises belonging and citizenship, a discipleship of equals, in God’s basileia community and thus the call to praise. Hallelujah!
Hallelujah Steadfast God, God in Community holy in One, you hold together glory with compassion for your peoples. You model a passion for justice and love. You are our God, there is none like you. We are your kingdom people. Early in the morning all creation wakes and is compelled to sing. The blackbird joined by the robin and Jenny wren and then the finch Praising you in a fourfold dawn chorus. Hallelujah
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