Psalm 148 is a thorough source of guidance for anyone who ever wonders why, when, where, or how to praise God. Whether down in the pit or up in heaven, everyone is to join all creation in celebrating the One who created all.
The psalmist describes how praises manifest in diverse forms. Through their mere presence to all, the sun, moon, shining stars, highest heavens, and waters above the heavens praise! In their established roles in the universe, sea monsters, fire, hail, snow, frost, stormy wind, mountains, hills, fruit trees, and cedars all praise! Regardless of human status, age, or gender, ALL are to praise God.
Although we all are created and commanded to exalt the Lord with our lives, voices, and actions, we have times when we struggle to bless and accept blessing. What then are we to do? The last verse in our reading suggests that we should listen for the sound of the horn that the Lord has raised. God is calling the beloved to recognize and then do something about our own lackluster connections with the Divine! God is calling us to release what is meaningless or dead and to make room in our lives for what is eternal and alive.
What, then, is eternal and alive? Love! In the end, we praise God not because God needs to receive praise but because we need to give it in response to God’s love for us. We need to love because God-like love for God’s people brings us closest to the abundant living God desires for us.
So then, if our praise of God is our recognition of God’s sovereignty, then our praise is really thankfulness for God’s eternal faithfulness and love. Praising God is loving God; loving God is obeying God’s command to love all God’s creation.
God of abundant mercy and patience, help us to praise you with both our words and our actions. Amen.
Change can be difficult. It is easy to get comfortable with what is familiar. In Acts, some in Jerusalem criticize Peter for having fellowship with the Gentiles. Peter explains that his actions are not his own idea but are inspired by a vision from God. This change leads to the spread of the gospel. Revelation speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. God cares for the earth that God created, but at the end of time everything will be changed and made better. In John, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment, namely that they should love one another as he has loved them. This is how others will know that they are truly Jesus’ disciples. Psalm 148 is not about change but is pure praise for the works of the Lord.
Read Acts 11:1-18. God calls Peter to initiate change. How do you respond to changes in your church’s culture? How do you discern what changes are from God?
Read Psalm 148. The next time you sing, focus on praising God and sharing God’s love through your words and melody.
Read Revelation 21:1-6. How do you live a full life while waiting for the new heaven and new earth?
Read John 13:31-35. In the wake of betrayal, Jesus calls his followers to sacrificial love. When have you needed to heed the call to this type of love?
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