20 Contemplations #8: The Heights

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Marc Chagall, Detail from "Starry Night", stained glass

Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
(Psalm 148:3)

Though He is lowly, they recognise Him,
For He commanded and they were made.
As they burn, they can still hear the hymn
He sung to create them at the Father’s side.
One is elected to proclaim, yet choirs
Sing to herald Him, silently glistening.
The night is coming; if mankind enquires,
What child is this? the host will be listening,
Ready to answer with all heaven’s angels:
Gloria! Gloria! Yet where are they now?
The kings to bow down, the dancers and timbrels?
Herod searches, yet breathes a fuming vow.
But if people ignore Him, rocks will cry out;
Now heavenly fires sparkle and shout…

Damascus Road Prayers: Lilyo (Midnight Prayer)

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Behold all that are asleep, awake and rise to sing praise…
(From Psalm 148, Midnight Prayer liturgy, Syriac Orthodox Church)

Could we have seen it coming?
Was our slumber too deep?
Midnight’s for sleeping, yet You do not sleep,
nor did You sleep
as boundaries changed and names were rearranged.
You did not sleep as serpents hatched their eggs.
As feet kicked against the goads, awake, You rose.
Arise now!
Do You sleep?
We lie now as wide-eyed at midnight as at midday,
yet every praise that You ordain spells death to faithful lips.
          Awake –
And waken us to see the grace
that lies here with us,
sleepless.

Call to Praise (The Cornucopia of Heaven #2)


Call to Praise

After Gustav Holst, “Psalm 148: Lord, Who Has Made Us for Thine Own”

 

His glory is above earth and heaven:

            and he has lifted high the horn of his people.

                        (Psalm 148:14)

Listen:
what begins small soon grows…

Let our voices rise –
            the voices
of His children,
            singing in
a gentle sea of hopeful praise

            and soon,
beneath, the day will dawn

upon each shore, upon
each hill, each cloud,
upon each flying wing.

Watch hail hurling! See
the clouds ablaze! the wind
casting waves!

Listen:
what begins small soon
erupts in hopeful praise.
                                    O Lord

who made us for thine own, we rise
in chorus, rising with
the coming day, this
            feast of plenty
                        on the wings
            of dawn, all flying,
green and singing,
fresh in morning,
wild in
                        its daily praising.

Listen, souls who turn aside
and greet the harvest with
your clutching hands:

O praise Him, all you mighty ones,
you weakling ones,
you dying, drifting, quaking ones

and praise Him
from the skies, from soil
within the toil of anxious day.
            

            Arise,
                        awake,
arise and praise:

His horn is lifted high…