Tag Archives: Psalm 150

Shiggaion!

B.B. King All Star Drummerpraise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.
Psalm 150:5 (NIV)

When Wendy and I were on our cruise we had the pleasure of being entertained nightly by the B.B. King All-Stars, an amazing group of Memphis based musicians. One night late in the week the band gave the vocalists a break and played a jazz set. They jammed on one tune that continued to build and build in intensity as each musician took solo turns. Towards the end of the song as things reached a fevered pitch, the drummer took off on a frenzied drum solo. I’ve seen, known and played with many drummers in my life. I have never seen anything quite like we witnessed that night. Cymbals crashed, sticks splintered and shattered as he beat the drums, threw caution to the wind, and lost himself in wild abandon. By the end of the song, he’d broken the snare drum.

In the introductory liner notes of some of the psalms you’ll see the Hebrew word shiggaion. No one knows for certain what the ancient musical term means, but the transliteration hints at a word picture of someone reeling as if intoxicated. Scholars suggest that these psalms were raucous songs intended for people to worship with the same loud, ecstatic, wild abandon Wendy and I witnessed in the musicians and drummer.

Wise King Solomon wrote that there is a time for everything under the sun. Certainly, there is a time for thoughtful, respectful quiet worship music. One of the most important lessons I’ve taken from the psalms is that there is also a time for shiggaion.

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Chapter-a-Day Psalm 150

The Divine Hours Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; Psalm 150:1 (MSG)

Over the past two weekends I've been able to spend a lot of time "under the open skies." It never ceases to amaze me how our little place at the lake is as much spiritual refuge as it is vacation play place. For several months now I've been enjoying "The Divine Hours." It's a selection of daily prayers divided into four daily offices. It's a return to the ancient idea of taking time each day, at different times of the day, to stop what you're doing and pray.

At the lake, the daily prayer times took on a deeper meaning for me. I felt the depth of the water, the rootedness of the trees, and the expanse of the skies as I quietly prayed through each office in the morning, mid-day and evening. As I read the opening lyric to Psalm 150 this morning, I caught the contrast of the author. Praise God in church, but praise Him under the open skies, too. There is much to be gained from learning to praise God inside church and out.