Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Songs of Ascent

Rolling Stone has written that U2's follow up album to No Line on the Horizon will be called Songs of Ascent. Songs of Ascent are a group of Psalms in the Bible, Psalms 120-134 to be exact. They are Psalms that focus on going to Jerusalem to worship God. Jerusalem has often been called "The City on a Hill" because it is about 2500 feet above sea level (around 750 meters). So, to go to the Temple to worship the God of Heaven would involve people going up, or ascending steps, thus the title of these worship Psalms...Psalms of Ascent...Songs of Ascent. The Christian interpretation of these Psalms sees Israel, Zion, Mount Zion and Jerusalem as applying to Christ-followers.

Even though the Songs of Ascent are all worship Psalms, the types of Psalms are very diverse. Some are cries and songs from an individual, others are the corporate cries of the Church. Some are shouts of confidence, others are cries of sadness and repentance. Some are songs of celebration, others songs of thanksgiving and still others songs of cries for wisdom in confusing and frustrating situations.

Here are some of the classic verses from this section of Scripture: These are from the English Standard Version...Bono tends to like Eugene Petersen's "The Message" translation.

Ps 120:1--In my distress I called to the LORD and He answered me.

Ps 121:1-8--I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore!

Ps 122:1--I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the House of the LORD!"

Ps 124:8--Our help is in the Name of the LORD who made heaven and earth.

Ps 127--Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep.

Ps 128--Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways!

Ps 130--Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If You, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared...O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love and with Him is plentiful redemption.

Ps 131--O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high. I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

Ps 132:8--Arise, O LORD, and go to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might. Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy!

Ps 133--Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Ps 134--Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the House of the LORD! Lift up your hands to the Holy Place and bless the LORD! May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.

Wonder what will be on the new album???

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