Processions

Your procession, God, has come into view,
the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
In front are the singers, after them the musicians;
with them are the young women playing the tambourines.
Praise God in the great congregation;
praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel.
Psalm 68:24-26

Processions. The British people love their processions. At royal weddings. On days of great occasions. Cavalry, beautifully dressed on especially chosen horses. Lines of soldiers marching in perfect unison. A band playing rousing music. The cheering crowds waving flags. A great time of national fervour. In Scotland, we have the occasional town gala, with floats depicting local and other themed displays, accompanied by pipe and accordion bands, threading their way through a town centre and ending in a park for a picnic or some other event. But there are, of course, sad processions as well. The funeral cavalcade. People dressed in black, walking slowly and sadly behind a black hearse and a limousine or two.

But when did we last observe a procession in honour of God? A procession made up of God’s people, playing instruments, musical and percussion, and choirs singing His praises? It must have been a wonderful sight in David, the Psalmist’s, day. A wonderful time to join in the experience and get lost in an abandonment of praise to our wonderful and amazing God. Occasionally we have a procession of religious or academic dignitaries pompously walking through a university city. Or sometimes a church will have an Easter parade for a short distance, ending in the local church. But what about the praising excitement of a procession in honour of our God? The King above all kings. Our wonderful Saviour. Not an embarrassed walk of a few people in a line, largely ignored by the community through which they pass. A procession worthy of God’s honour, noisy with shouts of praise, attended by many people, with cheering and a wonderful sense of God at the head of the procession. In several places in Scripture there are references to wonderful processions – we have a Biblical model to follow.

O Lord. Please forgive us for not giving You the honour and the public praise that is Yours by right.

Praise Him

“How the king rejoices in Your strength, O Lord! 
He shouts with joy because You give him victory. 
For You have given him his heart’s desire; 
You have withheld nothing he requested. 

For the king trusts in the Lord. 
The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.”
Psalms‬ ‭21:1-2, 7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

David the King is full of the joys of life. He has obviously successfully completed a battle or some other significant exploit, and he is giving God all the praise and thanks he can muster. The last verse in this Psalm points out the reason for his exuberant praise – it is because he trusts in God and His unfailing love, for his success. A short Psalm but what does it teach us for life today?

There is nothing more exciting than when God answers our prayers and helps us overcome a problem or succeed in a difficult task. When we can attribute a healing to God’s divine intervention. Or when we see God bring about a successful conclusion to an injustice or social need. And at such times we praise and thank Him for His wonderful works. We thank Him for all He has done. We may even stand up in a church service and give a testimony about what the Lord has done for us. But what about those times when we pray and pray about something, perhaps because of a sickness being experienced by a loved one, or over an unexpected bill, and there is no response from the Heavenly Throne? I think we all agree that it is much more difficult to praise and thank God then. 

As we read David’s Psalms, we often find him ranting about his problems, only to find that soon afterwards he is once again in that place of worship before His God. That’s the key we need in this life. Sometimes God will answer prayers of healing and other worthy petitions, but often He doesn’t. Now I’m a firm believer in the thought that God answers all prayers  with a “Yes”, “No” or a “Not Yet”. Unlike Him, we don’t see the end from the beginning. But that isn’t to say we shouldn’t pray anyway. And pray fervently, as it says in James 5:16b, “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” And pray with the faith that God is listening to our prayers and will answer them in the way that is best for us.

So we praise and thank God all the time. In the good times. In the not so good times as well. There is always something that we must thank Him for.