Wednesday 27 September 2006

Friday Morning Prayer for 22 September 2006

Playing before the Lord and praying to the Lord

Good Morning! As Mr Mackenzie says, the pr- sound and the pl- sound are not easy to distinguish. I notice that when I ask students to do dictation of the Hail Mary. Many students would write: “Holy Mother of God, play for us sinners” rather than “pray for us sinners.” I know Mr Mackenzie is very strict with blends. The PL sound and the PR sound should be distinguished well.
Every time at the end of each school prayer, the leader would say “St Francis” and everyone would respond by saying “Pray for us.” However, so far, I have never heard anyone mispronounce the word and say: “play for us” instead. Well, that makes sense, doesn’t it? You would not want to invite St Francis or St Joseph to play for you. If they play for you, that means you don’t get to play yourselves but they will play on your behalf. (So, don’t say “play for us.”) However, when we ask St Joseph or St Francis or any other saints to pray for us, it doesn’t mean we don’t pray to God ourselves. Instead, everyone, including all fellow Christians on earth and all the saints, should pray to God together.
Speaking about praying and playing, why don’t we sing the song on page 8, “Play before the Lord.” Please note that we will sing it without repeats. That means after the second last line, we will jump to where it is labelled “II” “telling of all His Ways.” [SONG]
Please note that the title of the song is NOT a misprint. It IS Play Before the Lord, not Pray Before the Lord. Why? Really, we do not exactly pray before the Lord. Instead, we pray to the Lord. But surely we can play before the Lord. So what do we play before the Lord? Does the author mean we play basketball or football before the Lord? Can you guess why does the author of this song say “play before the Lord”?
I will give you some clues: please take a look at the other lines. There is a keyword that appears several times. Now, I will give you all ten seconds to talk to your friends about what is being played before the Lord. [10 seconds] Aha – I can hear that someone over there in 7A has guessed the meaning correctly. Yes, the author is really talking about playing music or playing a musical instrument. Why? The clues are musical words like “singing” and “melody” which appear several times: I will sing to Him my melody. Let us sing before the Lord. Let us sing to Him. Sing, people of God. Often in examinations, you will find questions of this kind: asking things only hinted about. Upper form students know this very well and are well prepared for this, right?
I would also like you to take a look at the third line where it says: “Let us sing before the Lord” and the fifth line where it says: “Sing! People of God!” Do you know the differences between “Let us sing” and “Sing! People of God!” When I say: “Let us sing” – I am inviting you – the listener – to sing with me. That’s why I say let us sing. When I say: “Sing! People of God!” I am asking or ordering the People of God to sing.
The word “Sing” is a one-word sentence. The meaning is very clear even though there is no subject. It is like: your teacher may say to you: “Stand up!” “Keep quiet!” It is not at all like saying: “Would you mind standing up?” At first, she may say, “I would appreciate very much if you could keep you quiet.” When that doesn’t work, she may have to yell at you at the top of her lungs: “Keep quiet!” We call this kind of sentence structure imperative. We use imperative when we order or invite someone to do something directly. So, let us now sing the song through again. Sing! Students of St Joseph’s, sing! [Song]
Please turn to page 28. The Bible passage chosen for this morning expresses how St Paul lives for God. St Francis, who feels the same love of Christ, would have said the same thing too. [Bible reading]
Note that on the third line: St Paul said: “I might live for God.” Although St Paul was talking about himself, these concepts can be applied to St Francis too. St Francis used to be selfish. He lived for himself. But he changed and lived for God, rather than living for himself. Why he changed? He has discovered the goodness of God. We are going to say the prayer written by St Francis. You will find lots of descriptions of God. Please pay attention to the underlined words: you see the word “good” appears four times. St Francis thought that God is so good that he couldn’t think of other ways of saying “good” but repeating it.
There are some more underlined words towards the bottom of the page. Let’s go over them before we start the prayer. Please repeat after me: protector = someone who protects, haven (not heaven) = harbour, eternal = forever and ever, almighty = very powerful, merciful = kind, full of mercy, saviour = someone who saves.

Brother William Ng OFM

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