Back a few years, somewhere around 1549 when Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterburry, Evensong was formalized in the Anglican tradition. Some of the roots were in the Reformation, other roots were in the Jewish Synagogue. However Cranmer wanted ordinary folk to connect scripture to the “Grandeur of God.” Those three figures in the title anchor picture are not surviving a burning furnace stoked by Nebuchadnezzar. Rather they are glowing at sunset touched by a grandeur the people of Bali celebrate every evening at sundown. Cranmer used the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) to link the grandeur of the Old Testament with the glory of the New Testament. Evensong along with its companion morning service were used to share scripture.
Sculpted on the horizon the sun refracts through the evening clouds and pronounces grandeur. The local Balinese people know that evening brings the sacred retreat of evil and the beginning of a night that prepares for a new day. Along the water’s edge morning is marked by purification rites.
The final word at sunset may not belong to any tradition, but in the lexicon of what I learned the Psalmist calls us to praise the God who holds it all together — the God who sustains us.
The Psalter in #150 states:
Praise God in the mighty heavens, / Praise God for acting powerfully / Praise God for being great above all others./ Praise God, everything that has breath.
There is a great recoding of Psalm 150 sung in St Johns in New York City:
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