Reading through the Bible together
This Psalm, known as the “Great Hallel,” is traditionally sung at the end of the Jewish Passover.
As we study the structure and content of this Psalm, we can take from it some beautiful techniques to apply to our modern worship services.
1. It is participatory. With the refrain about God’s merciful love repeated in each verse, this structure seems to have been written so that the congregation could easily sing it as a response. Likewise, Ellen White encourages audience response in today’s worship services. “Although all are not called to minister in word and doctrine, they need not be cold and responseless listeners.” (Signs of the Times, June 24, 1886). She then goes on to encourage congregations to respond to the spoken word by saying Amen.
2. It uses repetition. From the baby learning to talk, to the adult wanting to remember an important number—repetition is one of the most commonly used methods of learning. After singing this Psalm, there is no doubt that every worshiper, right down to the youngest child, left with the impression that “God’s love endures forever.” Though the Bible does warn against vain—or meaningless—repetition, this verse gives us an example of how repetition can be used in a meaningful way.
3. It tells a story. Storytelling is one of the best ways to convey emotion. And is there any better story to share than one’s testimony? That is exactly what the Jews do in this Psalm as they recount the ways that God has led them in the past. Likewise, by sharing our testimonies with fellow worshipers, we can strengthen each others’ faith as we see evidence of His continuing to lead his people.
As we gather to worship in our various churches, let us not forget to incorporate these time-tested techniques into our worship service.
Freelance Writer and Editor
Cleveland, Tennessee, USA