Posted by: rcottrill | March 26, 2018

Psalm 8

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Words: Ewald Joseph Bash (b. Nov. 4, 1924; d. July 17, 1994)
Music: a traditional American melody, a cowboy lament called The Streets of Laredo

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org (Ewald Bash)

Note: Ewald Bash was a Lutheran pastor and song writer. He framed the words of Psalm 8 into a hymn in 1964. Bash served churches in Ohio and Minnesota, taught in a Lutheran college, and also founded KMOJ, the first Black radio station in Minnesota. After being a campus pastor at Ohio State University (1956-60), he was appointed Associate Youth Director of the American Lutheran Church.

With the revival of folk music in the 1960’s and 70’s, Bash provided Christian songs to fit that style. His version of Psalm 8 uses the music of a traditional western ballad. The Streets of Laredo was first published in 1910. An old-time cowboy, Frank Maynard (1853-1926), claimed he wrote the lyrics beginning:

As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied a poor cowboy, all wrapped in white linen
All wrapped in white linen and cold as the clay.

A great painting can sell for millions of dollars if it’s by an acclaimed artist. The signature of Vermeer, van Gogh, or Picasso establishes its worth. But buyer beware. Unwary art lovers have been duped by clever forgers, only to learn later their treasure is worth far less than they paid.

In one bizarre incident, two forgeries of the same painting went on sale at two different art galleries on the same day! And in 2011, a famous gallery in New York City shut down, after over a century in business. The reason? It was discovered that they had put up for sale forty paintings they claimed were recently discovered works by various masters, all of which turned out to be fakes.

Experts in identifying counterfeits microscopically examine the canvas, or the brush strokes used by the artist. Or analyze the paint used, because it sometimes proves to be a variety not available when the work of art was supposedly created.

Value relates both to quality and to origin. Though it’s not the only factor, worth is largely determined by where (or who) a thing came from. The same can be said for people. God is the Creator of us all (Ps. 95:6), and it’s His evaluation that counts most–though not all are willing to accept that.

Human pride and prejudice often divide people between us that them. They have a different skin colour than I do, or they come from a different country, or they are not as rich as I am, or as educated. Whatever measure we may use, it often becomes a basis for looking down on certain others as inferior. But that is not God’s perspective.

One day, in a discussion of whether the Jews should pay taxes to Rome, the Lord Jesus asked to see a coin. Showing it to them He asked, “Whose image and inscription is this?” When they rightly replied it was Caesar’s, the Lord responded, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:19-21). Question: Whose image is on you and me?

Unique among God’s creatures He made us to bear His image (Gen. 1:26-27). Whatever else this includes, it means we are able to have a meaningful relationship, and even intimate fellowship with out Creator. Human divisions must give way to a recognition of that fundamental. Whatever makes us different from one another, all in the human family share that special purpose. “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).

The eighth Psalm gives us some idea of the exalted place human beings have in the sight of God. There we read:

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit [care for] him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands” (Ps. 8:3-6).

Ewald Bash’s version of the psalm begins:

1) O Lord, our Lord, how majestic Thy name is,
How great is Thy name in all the earth,
Who hast set Thy glory above the high heavens
And stilleth Thy foes through a child in its birth.

2) When I think on Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers,
The moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained,
What is man in Thy mem’ry, a man that Thou mindest,
The son of man that Thou carest for him?

Questions:
1) Can you suggest what it is that makes man so precious in God’s sight that he “crowns him with glory and honour”?

2) What harm does believing the theory of evolution do to the high value of human beings?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)
Hymnary.org (Ewald Bash)


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