My thoughts (David Zier):
The Polyeleos (which consists of Psalms 135 and 136) is used in chant form as a festive portion of the Matins or All Night Vigil service, as observed on high feast days in the Orthodox and Catholic churches. Matins is the monastic nighttime liturgy that is chanted, ending at dawn. In its fullest musical setting, it can last over an hour. Nowadays, the psalms are usually shortened to only a few select verses each, except in some monasteries where the full Polyeleos is part of the service. It is considered to be the high point of the service.
The Greek word Polyeleos, Πολυέλεος, means “of much mercy.” Psalm 135 provides a reminder of the journey to freedom experienced by the Israelites, initially coming out of Egypt. The link below is an Orthodox Ukrainian chant rendition. As you listen, think about the mercy that God has shown you. Allow that to be the chant in your heart throughout this day. Carry the words of Psalm 135 with you.
Words in English for the chant of Psalm 135 – (Note: the recording includes Psalm 136 as well.)
Praise ye the name of the Lord, O ye servants praise the Lord. Alleluia.
All ye who stand in the house of the Lord, In the courts of the house of our God. Alleluia.
Praise ye the Lord for the Lord is good, Chant to God’s name for it is good. Alleluia.
For I know that the Lord is great and our Lord is above all Gods. Alleluia.
All that the Lord hath willed, God hath done on heaven and on earth, in the seas and in all the abysses. Alleluia.
Bringing clouds up from the utter most parts of the earth, lightenings for the rain hath God made. God bringeth winds out of the treasuries. Alleluia.
O Lord, thy name endureth forever and they memorial unto generation and generation. Alleluia.
For the Lord will judge the people, and because of God’s servants, God will be comforted. Alleluia.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. Alleluia.
They have a mouth, but shall not speak; eyes, but shall not see. Alleluia.
Ears have they, they shall not hear. Nor is there any breath in their mouth. Alleluia.
Let those that make them become like unto them and all they put their trust to them will be like them. Alleluia.
O ye house of Levi, bless ye the Lord, Blessed is the Lord out of Zion who dwelleth at Jerusalem. Alleluia. Praise the Lord!
Prayer for the day: God, help me to see your mercy in my life and in the world. Help me to be part of that mercy so that I can show it to others, and others may feel your mercy coming from you. In Jesus name, Amen.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.