Psalm 29 - All say "Glory"!

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A Psalm of David.
1) Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2) Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendor.

3) The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
4) The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5) The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6) He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7) The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8) The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9) The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”

10) The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11) May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!.

Psalm 29
Baptism of the Lord
Trinity Sunday, Year B

There are a number of popular sayings about the devil. "The d---- is in the details," "Speak of the d----," "Give the d---- his due."

Have you ever noticed that you can often replace the d-word with the G-word, and the saying makes even more sense?

Psalm 29 is all about giving God his due. The voice of the Lord is powerful, full of majesty. Look throughout all of creation... Look throughout all of history... Look high and look low... And you will see the glory of the Lord.

The heart and the experience of the faithful know something of the immense glory which is God's, and God's alone.

Look at those sayings. When you say "the devil is in the details," you're saying that the work is difficult and vexing, that so much is needed to attend to and balance the many things that are required to bring the work to fruition. You're saying that all these details are opportunities for the devil to mess up the plan. Saying God is in the details speaks to God's patience and persistence and power to work for good I n all things. God works with both the big picture and the infinite number of small derails. And God's handiwork is always for good.

We usually say "speak of the devil" when someone we are speaking or thinking of suddenly appears. Might it not be more appropriate to speak of the Lord, when there is a fortunate coincidence?

And when you say "Give God his due," well, the devil is due nothing. Evil deserves nothing. Everything we have, including our very life, is due to God. "Ascribe to the Lord" is simply giving God what God deserves: our best, our all. Our recognition of God's goodness, and of God's Godness.

The psalm speaks of God's awesome power, seen in the natural world, the power to make the earth shake, to blow down forests, to flash forth flames of fire. It brings to mind images of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, when the wilderness shook, and old growth forests were tumbled like matchsticks.

Look also to that mountain for other images of God's power. The scientists who sought to understand the geology and ecology and dynamics of the eruption, including geologist David A. Johnston, killed while monitoring the volcano. The public safety and emergency response systems and workers who limited the loss of life and aided recovery. And most amazingly, God in the details, life began finding its way out of the ashes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, "Vegetation began reappearing as early as the summer of 1980 as many small trees and plants were protected by the snowpack [at the time of eruption]. Seeds, carried by the wind or by animals, also entered the area and grew."

And so must we speak of the Lord in this way. God plays all the keys on the piano of the cosmos. We are easily awed by the dramatic. But ascribe to the Lord the full measure of glory, of divine power, which waits with seeds in the dark of the earth, which nurtures life, and which blesses the people, and the earth, with peace.

When we see God's loving spirit active in creation like a virtuoso, all say "Glory!"

Photographer unknown, Aerial view of timber blowdown, destroyed by the May 18 eruption of Mount St. Helens, June 8, 1980. U.S. Geological Survey, public domain.
Lyn Topinka, Fireweed, growing in Mount St. Helens' devastated area, August 15, 1984. U.S. Geological Survey, public domain.
* New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV), copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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