“Worship” can be worthless noise
in God’s ears; he will despise
ostentatious singing vain,
just lip-service brought again –
looks for love of righteousness
helping others in distress.
Some hope that a formal show
when to church, bored, choose to go,
hope it earns a future heaven –
sins acknowledged, sins forgiven
in Christ Jesus is the way,
loving justice, truly pray.
Many things can take my heart,
keeping me and God apart:
tune my lips to sweet aroma,
adoration of the Saviour,
justice rolling like a river,
righteousness pours forth for ever.
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts … Away with the noise of your songs … But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” Amos 5:21,23,24
Tune: 77 77 77 eg Dix (tune of ‘As with gladness men of old’)
King David, choice of God for ruling,
his people leading many years;
composer, singing psalms appealing,
revealing faith he’d learnt in tears.
Whatever causes of his turmoil:
his sin, his troubles, scheming Saul:
however low, he’d still in prayer toil,
and on the Lord of promise call.
For laying hold of all God’s promised, –
see: that’s how David struggled up, –
a way of grace his God had furnished, –
the Lord himself would drink the cup.
And all his failings he acknowledged;
for his repentance was sincere.
He trusted, pleaded: God provided
assurance, peace, removed his fear.
through all my days;
look on his ways,
his great creation,
We taste each day
help as we pray,
by grace we stay,
and want his way;
his love has taught,
our life he’s bought,
and so we sought,
our love he caught.
I need not fear
when you are near,
from guilt I’m clear,
in Christ, I’m dear;
and so rejoice
in heart and voice,
pardoned and glad,
cannot be sad.
Now songs will swell,
from hearts so full,
his church will tell,
and praise full well.
We know him now, the One who must
be blessed and praised, – we overflow
with joy, delight, amazed to view
procured redemption, full and just.
We know our Father, blessed by him
in Christ, our Saviour, for his blood
has cleansed us, brought us all that’s good;
his Spirit works his will within.
Not what I’ve done, or reached, achieved
could stir my soul to constant praise;
but thoughts of grace set hearts ablaze
– what God has done, all we’ve received.
To him be glory, majesty
in all the church for evermore;
by God beloved, our spirits pour
their deeply-felt doxology.
Tune: LM eg Bodmin by A Scott-Gatty, or Breslau arr W Monk
Isaiah chapter 26:1–27:6
The people of God have a song
– by faith we have come to this place
– salvation, impregnably strong.
O LORD, we delight in your grace!
He’ll keep them in peace, perfect peace,
who steadfastly trust in the LORD.
He smooths out their paths, and they cease
to fret, waiting, sure of his Word.
The wicked regard not, nor learn
God’s majesty, laws, and his care.
Affliction should cause us to turn,
approach him and whisper our prayer.
His vineyard will flourish, bear fruit.
He watches and guards every day ,
and thorns who make peace are not burnt. .
Powers cunning, and sly he will slay.
The vine will spread out through the earth,
be firmly established, take root;
will bud, and will blossom, break forth:
the world will be filled with good fruit!
Tune: 88 88 eg Celeste (tune of ‘How good is the God we adore’)
Christ commands we listen, learn:
with his Spirit’s help discern
as we read his Word divine,
good instructions that refine
how we live and think and talk –
Christian character and walk.
Listening to those called to preach,
glad to learn – God’s Word they teach,
opening up the thrust and meaning,
and the Author’s will revealing.
That’s where worshipping must start:
attentive ear and humble heart.
Mind and heart and mouth united:
Mind assenting thoughtfully,
heart consenting feelingly,
mouth presenting audibly
praises to our Lord.