when God’s folk,
their burdens great,
on crumpled knees,
with bowed heads
and cloistered eyes
buried in folded hands
mumble their incoherent solos of private prayer,
then, in righteously reflexive reply
to the psalmist’s cry:
“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”
and to the brightly beckoning opening organ chords,
of that olden Engleberg melody
soon to be joined by those sainted words:
“When in our music God is glorified”
rise with the anticipatory hearts
of opened, expectant eyes,
throats unfettered to proclaim intelligible syllables
with voices raised
with the warmth of harmonious praise.
Yet doth not God,
Creator of all seasons,
Who bears in Divine-hand all time,
delight in the orisons
whether of a person or a people
and whether in the bated breath of
or autumn’s chill?
(1) Worship, in modern English, is a contraction of the words worth (“honor,” or “esteem”) + ship (meaning a quality or condition of being); thus, meaning that state of existence worthy of honor or esteem, and, in theological terms, the status or circumstance only occupied by (or accorded to) God.
(2) Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in holy splendor;
tremble before him, all the earth (Psalm 96.7-9)
(3) Engleberg hymn tune (1904); composed by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)
(4) When in our music God is glorified (1971); words by Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000)