Psalm 148 - Praise the Lord from the heavens, Praise the Lord from the earth

1) Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
2) Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!

3) Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
4) Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
5) Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
6) He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed

7) Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
8) fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
9) Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
10) Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!

11) Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
12) Young men and women alike, old and young together!
13) Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
14) He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 148 (NRSV)
1st Sunday after Christmas, Year C
5th Sunday of Easter/small>

I love this psalm. Praise does not come naturally to me, but this helps, to see and hear (even in imagination) this laundry-list of all creation praising God! It would not surprise me in the slightest if this psalm underlies that famous hymn of St. Francis, "Bother Sun, Sister Moon."

If you know me, you will know that I don't praise or even flatter if my heart is not in it. If you hear a good word from me, it is a true word. So my praise for the Lord is not based upon God's star power, but on God's claim on my heart, by virtue of God's character. Worthy to be praised, for God is loving, God is saving, God is just, God is merciful, God is the author of good, and the end of no-good. God exalts the lowly, and yes, God presides over the death of evil. Hallelujah!

There are times when we are privileged enough to first notice, then exult in the glory of the world around us. Do you stop to smeall the roses, or gaze up to the sky? Maybe you can remember some of those noteworthy moments in your life, where the infinite expanse, the tiniest details, the sheer beauty of creation broke through. Our pastor and friend Bob Wilson was find of saying "Whatta God!"

Perhaps greatest of all, is that in faith, we see that there is a moral arc to the universe, and it bends towards justice and care, one for another. It makes me want to sing with Sun and moon, "What a mighty God we serve!" In faith, we dream all of creation joining in praise of this amazing, generous and generative power.

We must also note that the psalm knows this is personal. I and my people are included in the bountiful outpouring of goodness. God blesses the universe, and that includes me.

So Let us praise the name of the Lord! His name is exalted above all, and his glory is above - and also throughout - earth and heaven.

Unknown artist, Space Orbit Galaxy Night Planets Sky Earth Sun, Public domain (CC0 1.0).


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