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Hallowed Memories: Happy New Year!

One my greatest New Year’s Eve/Day highlights is singing the 77th Psalm to the tune Auld Lang Syne. For me, this tradition began in Grand Rapids, MI, in the manse of Rev. and Mrs. Lanning. Bringing in the new year with God’s Word sung is a marvelous tradition that I have brought into my home and promoted among my congregation in Los Angeles.

The 77th Psalm begins with the psalmist crying out to God and refusing to be comforted. He then begins to recall the days of old and in his heart’s meditation he confronts himself with a series of self-examining questions.

Self-examination at the end of year and at the beginning of a new year is worthy of our consideration as Christians. Here are some of the psalmist’s questions that you may also examine yourself as you begin 2013:

Will the Lord cast off forever?  Will he be favorable no more?  Has his mercy ceased forever?  Has his favor failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he shut up mercy in anger? What does the psalmist conclude following examining the character of God in relationship to his merciless perception? 

You see, in these questions we find the obvious! Jesus is faithful to his people- he is faithful to his promise. This is not a problem with God’s character. His covenant faithfulness will continue by “his right arm.” As you begin 2013, take time to sing some self-examination, and as you do, turn your heart and mind to the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s “right arm” of faithfulness.

Enjoy your psalm singing, God’s faithfulness to his covenant promises, and the richest blessings of grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. And on behalf of the gentlemen of Gentle Reformation, Happy New Year!

Psalm 77: 1-14a, United Presbyterian Psalter, 1912. Tune: Auld Lang Syne

I thought upon the days of old, The years departed long,
I held communion with my heart, By night recalled my song.
My heart inquired with anxious care, Will God forever spurn?
Shall we no more his favor see? Will mercy ne’er return?

Forever shall his promise fail? Has God forgotten grace?
Has he withdrawn his tender love, In anger hid his face?
These doubts are my infirmity, My thoughts at once reply;
I call back years of God’s right hand, The years of God Most High.

I will commemorate, O Lord, Thy wondrous deeds of old,
And meditate upon Thy works Of pow’r and grace untold.
O God, most holy is Thy way, Most perfect, good and right;
Thou art the only living God, The God of wondrous might.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sean McDonald #

    We sang verses 5-9 about 10 minutes before the new year, and verses 10-15 right after the ball dropped. Different Psalter, same tune. We had a very good talk afterward about remembering the deliverance(s) of God, as the remedy for the soul being cast down with vexing thoughts.

    Not a bad tradition… I could definitely see doing it again next year. :-)

    January 1, 2013
  2. kengsmith #

    What a great way to end the year and begin the new! Thanks, Nathan.

    – KenG Smith

    January 1, 2013
  3. alcoramdeo #

    Thank you, Brother, for this encouragement.

    January 1, 2013

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