Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise of the Lord isn’t rational. At odds with our high–tech lives, it rejects our culture’s standards of achievement, control, and objectivity. It goes way beyond our limited world of e–mail, tweets, and memos.
Instead, praise invites us to see life as mystery and gift. Embracing a wider reality, it puts aside passive routines and pious sounding platitudes. It creates room for imagination. Praise is disruptive, boisterous, and disordered. But even more, praise is an act of trust. When we praise, we entrust our life to God the King. We say or even shout, “God runs our life!”
The Psalter begins its prayer journey with confidence. Psalm 1 speaks of two ways: the blessings of living God’s way and the pitfalls of human–centered living. Then the psalms pray every human trouble: questions, doubts, anxieties, fears, even darkness and hatred. Now this ancient prayer book gives us a final word: praise.
Praise of God isn’t naïve; it comes after suffering. Nor is it demanding; it asks for no answers or favors. It knows life is flawed. It knows the world is skewed, that sometimes innocent people suffer. It faces reality. Still, it calls the whole world to mobilize in an orchestra of praise. The final psalm tells anyone who will listen: God is King. He gives us our breath. And the wisest thing to do with that breath is to “praise the Lord”!
“Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness… Praise the Lord.” Amen!
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