Psalms of Ascent: a commentary

Each week as a part of our service, there is a video that precedes the sermon.  We call it the Call to Listen.  Now, there is much that could be said about the nature of Art and how art engages our hearts and minds in ways that few other things do… and how art stimulates the parts of our brain that make associations and connections, and how that helps us to grow and to learn, and take surface information and move it deeper.  And these are great things to discuss because Art has and always will be an important part of the worshiping life of the Church, the Body of Christ.

But deeper than that is our need to be still.  To quiet the voices and thoughts that run through our heads, and to say “Lord, I want to hear from you”.  Because the purpose of these Call to Listen videos is not more information, but to evoke the desire to hear, and to create the space, the stillness, to quiet ourselves, and my hope is that these images would help move you towards that.

But of course, in saying all of that, few of us want to be stumbling around in the dark trying to interpret images on a screen, so allow me to share some thoughts on this current Call to Listen for our Psalms of Ascent series.

Some Thoughts and Questions

As has been shared in the sermon series, the Psalms of Ascent were likely songs that pilgrims would sing on their often arduous journey up to the temple to offer their worship and sacrifices. It was a journey that happened each year… possibly multiple times a year. As such these songs were established and proven over many journeys – songs taught to children that their parents sang when they were children.

The video begins with pressing play on music as a journey is begun. How can a song color or transform a trip, with all of its different peaks and lulls?
Throughout the video there is frequent use of clips that look like old, grainy film… the kind of footage you’d find on a reel in a box your grandparent’s closet. What does this aesthetic convey to you about time, history, generations?
The split-screen moment where the road is changing but the mountain, the destination, remains fixed…
Though we are all journeying towards the same centre, our locations are many and varied. What is the current terrain of your soul’s roaming?

May we listen to the songs of those who have gone before, and find the songs needed to cheer our hearts and guide our steps for the long, faithful road towards Jesus.
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