I listened with awe as a young man shared his testimony. His wife died from cancer several years ago. He spoke of the holiness of the moment of her death; he praised God and spoke of his growing faith.

Doxology is a form of praise that we often sing on Sunday mornings. One contemporary version is: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise God, all creatures here below. Praise God above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Creator, Christ, and Holy Ghost.” Grammatically speaking, “Praise God!” is both a command and a faith claim. We praise God during times of well-being and claim that blessings are present even when they are hard to recognize.

Today’s scripture is a doxology, the third stanza of a praise hymn sung by the restored, postexilic community in Jerusalem. The passage begins and ends with the sentence “Praise the Lord,” both a command to praise and an act of praise by the community. The first two stanzas of Psalm 147 express praise for God’s creative initiative, redemptive acts, and abundance. However, the third stanza of the doxology demands and offers praise for God’s Word that comes to the people of Jerusalem through the laws that frame their intimate relationship with God.

For Christians, Jesus is the incarnate, redemptive, living expression of God’s Word. As disciples of Jesus, we experience through him the most grace-filled expression of God’s love in all of creation. As our relationship with Jesus grows stronger and deeper, we grow in our ability to recognize and claim the blessings among us. Our lives are increasingly framed by praise that sustains us, emboldens us, and gives voice to our gratitude and joy—whether surrounding a newborn baby or encircling the deathbed of a loved one.

Praise to you, O God, our Creator, Christ, and Holy Ghost! I praise you amid my struggles, even as I praise you in times of laughter and peace. Amen.

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Leccionario Semanal
December 30, 2019—January 5, 2020
Resumen de la Escritura

Jeremiah delivers happy news, a promise from the Lord of a brighter future day. God will bring back the scattered peoples to their homeland, and their mourning will turn into joy. The psalmist encourages those in Jerusalem to praise God for all that God has done. God gives protection, peace, and the law to the children of Israel. The author of Ephesians encourages readers with confidence in God’s eternal plan. God’s will is to send Christ and adopt us into God’s family. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. The opening to John helps us understand the eternal scope of God’s plan. From the beginning, the Word has been with God but then becomes flesh and lives among us to reveal divine glory.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Jeremiah 31:7-14. How do you continue to celebrate God’s goodness, even if the Christmas season has been difficult for you?
Read Psalm 147:12-20. What is your doxology—your command and faith claim—today?
Read Ephesians 1:3-14. Consider the author’s question, Who makes up your family? Do you define your family by looking back to your heritage or looking forward to your legacy and future generations’ inheritance?
Read John 1:1-18. What does it mean for you that Jesus is cocreator in the beginning and takes on human life and suffering as Emmanuel?

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