Psalm 150 - Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise God in his mighty firmament!
Praise God for her mighty deeds;
praise God according to her surpassing greatness!...
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Psalm 150 (NRSV)
Second Sunday of Easter, Year C

We do not always know why our ancestors in faith organized the books and chapters of the Bible the way they did, but it seems fitting to end the prayerbook and hymnbook of Psalms with praise.

This psalm does not break any new ground, referring to things we have heard before: God is in the heavens and in the sanctuary, God is mighty, and worthy to be praised with all we've got. The psalm was clearly was intended for singing. Take note: praise songs were not invented yesterday!

It's usually a good idea to end on a high note. We like to leave worship or prayer filled with the goodness of God and overflowing with praise. While the Psalms make plenty of space for other dimensions of human experience, the Psalter concludes with a praise-heavy section (think especially of Psalms 145-150), And thins final hymn, a short worshipful summary of praise, calling upon every living thing to offer their praise.

If God is worthy to be praised, then bring your best! Bring out the cymbals, the big bass drum, the trumpets, the pipe organ, and for that matter the calliope, flugelhorn, and kazoo.

Most of all, praise God with your life. God is great, but God's greatness is based not just in might, but in the kind of deeds God gets behind. Order out of chaos, freedom out of captivity, justice rolling down like a mighty stream, life from death. God deserves the praise. And the praise reminds us, energizes us, equips to live as though God's kingdom has already triumphed in our lives.

May it be so.

Utrechts Psalter manuscript illustrations for Psalms 149-150, ~850 CE. Public domain.
JFXie, "O Praise Him," (CC BY 2.0).


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