Thoughts for the Day

Saturday, 11th May 2024: The shout for the King

John 16 Praise Ascension God as King

Reading : Verses from John, Chapter 16

King's crown

Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm.

God is king over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Hubert Parry's anthem, “I Was Glad” has been performed at the entrance of the monarch in every British coronation since that of King Charles I, and it symbolizes the monarch’s acknowledgement of God's power that guides them and their reign as they seek the welfare of the people. The addition of an acclimation, such as “Vivat Rex” or “Vivat Regina” (Long live the king, or long live the queen), adds an element of solemnity, that alway gives me the shivers.

Psalm 47 also communicates the jubilation of an enthronement of a new king. We don't which Hebrew king this was written for, and indeed it might have been used as part of an annual celebration of God as King. For Christians this psalm is also a prophecy of Jesus as he ascends to his throne. We celebrated his Ascension on Thursday last and tomorrow we continue with Ascension Sunday. The psalm speaks to 'all peoples', to 'nations' and ultimately to 'all the earth' and these themes dominate the whole psalm. Remembering Jesus' words in Matthew's Gospel (28.18-20) to take his message to the ends of the earth, we can see why Christians have used this psalm in worship.

The psalm is joyous. Kings were all too often tyrants who ruled their people with a sword, but though God will judge His people, He will be no tyrant. We don't know why He delights in His people. But in the psalm He is shown drawing all people to Himself. The Ascension of Jesus is seen as one such move towards one throne and one world, and it reminds us of Jesus' words in John's Gospel: "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." (12.32).


King of kings, and Lord of lords,
we praise Your name,
and sing our song of thanks.
Your glory fills the universe,
and all are called to answer to You.
Your judgement is merciful,
to those who show mercy.
May we draw closer to You
O Christ, our Redeemer.

Follow Up Thoughts

This article about the the inclusion of the "vivats" at the Coronations of King Charles III and Queen Camilla is interesting:

Or listen to Parry's 'I was glad' based on psalm 122 from King Charles' Coronation, with the "vivats":

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