Lift Up the Gates Eternal (Psalm 24)

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

In addition to Psalm 24, supplementary passages of celebration at God’s entry into Jerusalem are found in Psalms 15, 47, 68, 110, 118, and 132.


Lift Up the Gates Eternal (Psalm 24)

Call to Worship

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
—Zechariah 9:9, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord ?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
They will receive blessing from the Lord,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord , strong and mighty,
the Lord , mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory.
—Psalm 24, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
—Psalm 24:7-8, 10, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Creator of all things,
keep us alert to the signs of Christ’s return and attentive to the needs of your people,
so that we may live with joy and purpose and eagerly welcome the King of Glory.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

O Lord Christ,
as you once entered Jerusalem,
enter our hearts this day afresh.
As you once set your face toward death on a cross,
help us this day to walk with you to victory.
As the children once cried “Hosanna” to bless you,
enable us to confess you openly as Lord and Savior.
Grant us your presence by the power of your Spirit,
that our worship and our lives may truly honor you. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lift Up the Gates Eternal (Psalm 24)

Tune Information

e minor


Musical Suggestion

Use a Klezmer music style to bring out the full flavor of this song: backbeats with tambourine or snare on the “and” of beats one and two, root/fifth movement in the bass line, and the colors of clarinet, accordion and violin.

— Greg Scheer

Add drums, tambourine, and other percussion instruments. Increase the tempo at each return of the refrain. To extend the psalm, the refrain may be sung after each stanza. The assembly may be invited to join in a ring dance around the perimeter of the assembly, using a simple grapevine step. When dancing, it may be helpful to have a solo voice sing the stanzas, with the dancers joining in singing the refrain.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

The instrumentalists can lead a gradual accelerando throughout to heighten the energy and enthusiasm of the singing. Additional percussion, presentation suggestions, and the little descant ending for the final refrain are also found in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal and Songs for LiFE.
For another week, divide the congregation for antiphonal singing, perhaps by center aisle: One side of the aisle sings the first phrase of each verse, and the other side answers. Each couplet divides conceptually, and the antiphonal style echoes the couplet style of the psalm. Everyone sings on the refrain, perhaps once again with a bit of percussion.
The content of the psalm and the mood of the setting make this hymn appropriate for a season of Thanksgiving. The refrain also can be carried into the Advent season as a congregational opening, or sung with the Advent candle lighting or as a congregational response.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 40)
— Mary Jane Voogt

Lift Up the Gates Eternal (Psalm 24)

Hymn Story/Background

Psalm 24 is a liturgy composed for use in one of Israel's annual religious festivals, perhaps the Feast of Tabernacles. In the post­ exilic liturgy of the temple, this psalm was sung at the time of the morning sacrifice on the first day of the week. The liturgy accompanied a procession that may have reenacted David's bringing of the ark (symbolic of God's throne) into Jerusalem and placing it there in its own tent sanctuary. In broader perspective the liturgy no doubt celebrated the final triumphal march of the King of Glory from Mount Sinai (Psalm 68), or even from Egypt (Exodus 15:1-18), into his royal resting place (1 Chronicles 28:2) in the royal city of his kingdom.
Probably of Hasidic origin, PROMISED ONE was associated with the folk song "Gilu Hagalilim," brought by Zionist settlers to Israel after World War I. The Fireside Book of Folk Songs (1947) contains the tune with a different text but with the "Lift up your voices" phrase in its refrain.
This joyful minor tune has the syncopated rhythm associated with the Jewish hora dance and derives its melodic phrases from variations of the first line. PROMISED ONE is an exciting tune intended to be sung with perpetual energy and without pauses between refrain and stanza and refrain. Sing in unison and try using a faster tempo for each succeeding stanza. Accompany with guitar, various percussion instruments, hand clapping and/or Orff instruments on the ostinati patterns or improvise similar patterns. Try adding a simple descant for the final two measures of the refrain by going up the scale as follows. B, C-sharp, D-sharp, E, E.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Arlo Duba (b. 1929) was an administrator at Princeton Seminary and is professor of worship (emeritus) and former dean at the University of Dubuque (Iowa) Theological School.

Wilard F. Jabusch (b. 1930) received degrees from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, and Loyola University, Chicago. He also earned a doctorate at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1986), and studied music at the Chicago Conservatory and the University of London. A parish priest at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Chicago from 1956 to 1961, he taught at Niles College of Loyola University from 1963 to 1966 and at the Mundelein Seminary from 1968 to 1990. Since 1990 Jabusch has been director of Calvert House, the Roman Catholic student center at the University of Chicago. His theological publications include The Person in the Pulpit (1980), Walk Where Jesus Walked (1986), and The Spoken Christ (1990). He has written some forty tunes and one hundred hymn texts, often pairing them with eastern European and Israeli folk tunes.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

John Allen Ferguson (b. Cleveland, Ohio, January 27, 1941) is an American organist, teacher, and composer. Ferguson is probably best known for his many choral compositions. He has also published alternate accompaniments and festival arrangements for organ, brass, and percussion of hymns and Lutheran liturgy, and has appeared on several recordings. He has more than 100 titles to his credit.

Ferguson earned a B.M. from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, an M.M. from Kent State University, and a D.M.A. from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Russell Saunders. Ferguson is a well-respected organ teacher and leader of congregational singing via the organ. He has been invited as a visiting professor by the faculties of the University of Notre Dame and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. His work has received national acclaim.
Ferguson's name is often associated with hymnody and the words "hymn festival." He frequently is invited to design and lead such events, both in local congregations and at gatherings of organists, choral conductors, and church musicians. His festivals are ecumenical experiences drawing upon the treasures of Christian song from many centuries, traditions, and styles.
Long associated with the Holtkamp Organ Company, Ferguson's doctoral dissertation was on the work of Walter Holtkamp Sr. "Walter Holtkamp: American Organ Builder" was published in 1979 by Kent State University Press.  He also served as music editor of the United Church of Christ Hymnal, published in 1974.
He worked as both professor of music at Kent State University and organist-choirmaster at Kent United Church of Christ until 1978. He later worked as the director of music at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1983 he became the Elliot & Klara Stockdahl Johnson professor of organ and church music at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, and later became the conductor of the St. Olaf Cantorei. He retired from St. Olaf in 2012. He is married to wife Ruth and has a son, Christopher.
— Wikipedia

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