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Basil the Great, "Speak of God’s Glory"

Several weeks ago now Dr. Craig Blaising was in Union’s chapel as a part of our Psalms Project. He gave a wonderful address titled “The Psalms in Early Christian Worship.” Blaising basically demonstrated how the early church fathers sought to teach their people to pray from the Psalms. Drawing from his work on the recently published commentary on Psalms 1-50 in the Ancient Christian Commentary series, he cited a number of powerful quotes from the Patristics.

Here is one from Basil the Great which deals with how we approach worship. This struck me as particularly relevant in our busy noisiness which often fails to have a place for quiet in the presence of God:

One who is in the temple of God does not speak out abuse or folly or words full of shameful matters, but “in his temple all shall speak his glory.” … This one duty, referring glory to the Creator, belongs to every army of heavenly creatures. Every creature, whether silent or uttering sound, whether celestial or terrestrial, gives glory to the Creator. But wretched people who leave their homes and run to the temple, as if to enrich themselves somewhat, do not lend their ears to the words of God; they do not possess a knowledge of their nature; they are not distressed, although they have previously committed sin; they do not grieve at remembering their sins, nor do they fear the judgment; but, smiling and shaking hands with one another, they make the house of prayer a place of lengthy conversation, pretending not to hear the psalm that solemnly protests and says, “In the temple of God all shall speak his glory.” You not only do not speak his glory, but you even become a hindrance to the other, turning his attention to yourself and drowning out the teaching of the spirit by your own clamor. See to it that you do not at some time leave condemned along with those blaspheming the name of God instead of receiving a reward for glorifying him. You have a psalm; you have a prophecy, the evangelical precepts, the preachings of the apostles. Let the tongue sing, let the mind interpret the meaning of what has been said, that you may sing with your spirit, that you may sing likewise with your mind. … This statement, “In his temple all shall speak his glory,” was made not unfittingly in a digression, because some in the temple of God talk endlessly until their tongue aches; and these enter without profit.

(Homily on Psalm 13.8).

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