Except on Easter Day, “upon which another anthem is appointed’, every single morning of the year, in every parish in England, all God’s people should gather together to encourage one another with the words of the Venite, exultemus Domino– ‘O come, let us sing unto the Lord’.
Well, at least that was what Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformers intended, which makes this psalm – Psalm 95 the most frequently and most widely recited hymn in the world.
Indeed, Psalm 95 has been used in daily worship for at least 1,600 years and probably for much longer. Around 320 AD, Athanasius wrote: “Before the beginning of their prayers, the Christians invite and exhort one another in the words of the 95th Psalm.” Not surprising therefore, Peter Toon observes, at the beginning of the English Reformation, this “Invitatory Psalm” is described in the Primer (1543) of Henry VIII as “A Song stirring to the Praise of God.” And what a stirring summons it is! In the Booke of The Common Prayer (1549), Psalm 95 is very near the beginning of “’An Ordre for Mattyns dayly through the Year’. From then onwards Psalm 95 was a required part of Morning Prayer or Matins.”Continue reading