The moon (Sir 43:6-43:8)

“It is the moon

That marks the changing seasons.

The moon governs the times.

It is their everlasting sign.

From the moon

Comes the sign

For festal days.

It is a light that wanes

When it completes its course.

The new moon,

As its name suggests,

Renews itself.

The month is named

After the moon.

How marvelous it is

In this change!

It is a beacon

For the hosts on high!

It shines

In the vault of the heavens!”

Sirach points out how important the moon was for the Israelites. First, the moon marked the changing of seasons. Then the festival days were based on the moon. Both Passover and the feast of the Tents were based on a full moon. In fact, calculating the observance of Christian Easter each year is based on the full moon of spring. We even still talk about a harvest moon and a romantic moon. The moon appears to become full and wane because of its position between the sun and the earth. Thus it looks like the new moon renews itself. The Israelite Hebrews had the same word for moon and month, since they used a lunar calendar to keep track of their days. Yet even today, we appreciate the value of a bright glorious moon in the heavenly sky at night.

Call to worship (Ps 81:1-81:5)

To the choirmaster leader, according to the Gittith, a psalm of Asaph

“Sing aloud to God!

Our strength!

Shout for joy

To the God of Jacob!

Raise a song!

Sound the tambourine!

Sound the sweet lyre!

Sound the harp!

Blow the trumpet

At the new moon,

At the full moon,

On our feast day.

It is a statute for Israel.

It is an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

He made it a decree in Joseph,

When he went out

Over the land of Egypt.”

Once again, Psalm 81 is a choral psalm on a Gittith or stringed instrument. Of course it is in this series of Asaph psalms, who was a Temple singer. They were to sing aloud with joy to the God of Jacob. They were to play on the tambourine, the lyre, and the harp. They were to blow the trumpet at the new moon, the full moon, and the feast day. This was a statute of Israel and an ordinance of the God of Jacob. This was the decree that came from tribe of Joseph as they left Egypt.