URC Daily Devotion Sunday 22nd November 2020

Sunday 22nd November Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord’s (Men)
And everything in it (Women)
The earth is the Lord’s (Men)
The work of His hands (Women)
The earth is the Lord’s (Men)
And everything in it (Women)
And all things were made (All)
For His glory

(Last time)
And all things were made
Yes, all things were made
And all things were made
For His glory

The mountains are His
The seas and the islands
The cities and towns
The houses and streets
Let rebels bow down
And worship before Him
For all things were made
For His glory

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1986 Thankyou Music

You can hear this Psalm here 


In the church I grew up in we used to take turns to say verses of the Psalms. An imaginary line down the centre of the congregation determined who would speak the odd or even lines. As I look at our Psalm song, I see something that should seem similar. And yet those bracketed instructions to the (Men) and (Women) look so curious on the page.

Both the song and my memory of sharing out the psalm lines come from the mid-1980s. The same decade saw a growing conversation about who gets to speak, whose language is considered normal, and who gets to say what. I have never sung this hymn without noticing, and regretting, that only men get to sing of God’s lordship, whilst women just sing in reply. The female voices never get to begin an idea, only to elaborate upon the point the men already made. Perhaps unconsciously, perhaps deliberately, this Psalm setting connects the Lordship of God to male authority. I find it hard to sing, which is a shame as Psalm 24 is such a powerful and beautiful poem.

The way we speak of God, and who we listen to as we talk of God, can limit our imagination. Psalm 24 points in the opposite direction – everything in this world belongs to God, and all have their part to play in worship. Who gets to speak, whose life experience is assumed to be normal, who is made to feel like a token presence, and who is encouraged to stay silent still matters. In each generation grows a new awareness of who has been kept quiet and what has previously been left unsaid. May we listen with the Holy Spirit to the chorus of God’s created people. And may we notice how every voice needs to be honoured and brought out for us to begin to imagine the fullness of life which God promises.


How does the sea worship you?
Through its ebbs and tides, and consistent action? Or its constant recreation of beaches and rain clouds?

How does a city worship you?
Through the buildings which point to the heavens? Or its openness to the stranger, protection of the vulnerable?

How do I worship you?
Through my prayer and reflection? Or in my speaking, listening, and action?

As all of creation seeks to worship you, may every thing speak of your glory.


Today’s writer

The Rev’d ’frin Lewis-Smith is a healthcare chaplain in Salford and a member of Tonge Moor URC 


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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