Happy third day of Christmas, dear reader. I hope the first and second were suitably splendid. I went to a beautiful midnight service on Christmas eve. Wonderful. And, as you may have noticed, I took a little break from this blog. It wasn’t planned but it sort of just happened, you know how it is. I am glad I did too. It has helped be to see the fruits I am reaping from writing this blog, I’m sure I’ll write more about that another time. Another ‘note on the process’, perhaps.

For now, though, I shall ease myself into things with a note on Psalms 24-26. Well Psalm 24 to be more precise. Well Psalm 24:7-10, to be exact. For some reason I had made up this rule that I should try to include as much of what I’ve read in my blog each day, but we all know blanket rules about reading the Bible don’t work. Psalms are all individual poems and contriving to lump them in together doesn’t make me insightful, it makes me a clever-clogs. Plus, this blog is about my experience of reading the Bible in a year, and in my experience there are phrases, verses, images, that jump out when I read and there was one today:

7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
   and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
   that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory?
   The Lord, strong and mighty,
   the Lord, mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
   and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
   that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
   The Lord of hosts,
   he is the King of glory.

Really, I could just talk about verse 7 (and 9). There is something relentlessly joyous in this call to open up to the ‘King of glory’, something deeply rousing too. I can’t put my finger on why this language seems to stir something in me, but it does. “Lift up your heads, O gates!” who is the psalmist talking to here? Gates don’t have heads. Are we the gates? The gates of God, the gates for God. Are we the ‘ancient doors’? Do we need to lift ourselves up to God fully? Well, yes, of course we do.

I love the imagery of ancient doors being opened up to let God come in. I imagine huge heavy iron gates, scattered with rust and cobwebs. I imagine giant stiff hinges being reluctantly moved after centuries of inertia, creaks echoing all around as they are heaved out of their locked positions. And I imagine floods of light, light that has peeked through keyholes and cracks, falling in all around as the doors are opened.

I really feel that this is so much what worship is. Not only praising God, but also opening to God. Some of us Christians like to lift up out hands when worship, and more to lift up our heads. Is this a small gesture of a deeper welcoming, and a more passionate looking to God? I hope so.

And a worship song comes to mind as I read and reflect on this. It’s by a guy called John Mark McMillan, perhaps you know him, I think his most famous song is ‘How He Loves Us’. This song is called ‘Skeleton Bones’ and has so much imagery that resonates with passage I’ve picked out today. It begins ‘peel back our ribs again and stand inside of our chest, we just wana love you, we just wana love you, yeah’. As it builds to the chorus we are called to “separate those doors and let the son (sun?) of resurrection in” and then it bursts into “come let us adore the son of glory dressed in love, open up your gates before him, crown him, stand him up.” Wonderful stuff, I think. And just a hint of a reference to O Come All Ye Faithful in the chorus, so perfect for the season.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy.