“May Jesus Christ Be Praised”
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1 (KJV)
Seeing the sun rise over the mountains each morning is one of the blessings I enjoy in our North Carolina home. I’m an early riser, so I’m usually settled in my recliner with my coffee and my Bible as the dial of the sky’s color wheel turns slowly from black to grey to gold and then blue. If clouds are creeping across the horizon, I witness their transformation too—greys, pinks, golds, blues, and finally white.
As the morning show unfolds, the lyrics of “When Morning Gilds the Skies” flit across my mind. I can’t help but think “may Jesus Christ be praised” when the horizon displays such beauty. But once the heat of daily life begins and I direct my attention to work, chores, and other responsibilities, my praise may be silenced by problems and disappointments. When unexpected car trouble, a family conflict, or work-related setbacks rise, the morning glory dims. And my attitude darkens.
We don’t know who wrote the lyrics of “When Morning Gilds the Skies.” It’s a German hymn that Edward Caswall, a Roman Catholic priest, translated into English in 1854. Not many hymnals contain all fifteen stanzas of this classic piece. But reading all of them is a good praise exercise, for the lyrics remind us that our praise should continue throughout our day: “when sadness fills my mind,” “when evil thoughts molest,” “when evening shadows fall,” and “when sleep her balm denies.”
The hymn also mentions why God’s people should be filled with praise all day long: “Eternal bliss” is the reward of those who praise Him, and “the powers of darkness” flee in fear when we worship God.
David was a fugitive when he wrote Psalm 34. He’d been forced to leave his home and his country (See 1 Samuel 20-21). Yet he determined to praise the Lord “at all times” because he was confident that “none of them that trust in [the LORD] shall be desolate” (Psalm 34:22 KJV).
Starting our day with praise is important, but continuing our praise throughout the day’s difficulties is vital to our spiritual well-being. Both David and Caswell remind us that “in every time and place” our response should be “may Jesus Christ be praised.”
Read Psalm 34. (Better yet, memorize it!) Make a list of all the reasons for praise David gives. Then add some of your own.
Read 1 Samuel 20-21. What mistakes did David make during this period of his life? How did he get his life back on track? (See Psalm 34:4, 6,13-14).
Read Psalm 143:1-6. If your praise tank is low, how can you refill it?
To read all the lyrics of “When Morning Gilds the Skies” go to www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/h/e/whenmgts.htm
Denise K. Loock