The Praise God Wants

The Praise God Wants

Summary

(Psalm 65:5b – Psalm 66:4)

My friend, Rev Dr Michael Moore, UPCSA, wrote once of how all creation is perfectly aligned, perfectly obedient to God in the Holy, Sacred rhythms of creation…and he speculates that THAT’S why we are so moved by it… It’s a thought described so beautifully by Simone Weil in Waiting on God: “Matter is entirely passive and in consequence entirely obedient to God’s will, it is a perfect model for us.  On account of its perfect obedience, matter deserves to be loved by those who love its Master…

What is more beautiful than the action of weight on the fugitive waves of the sea as they fall in ever-moving folds, or the almost eternal folds of the mountains?”

Today’s readings call us out to live lives that demonstrate our appreciation of the Holiness which we realize is actually hard wired/woven into and through all of creation. The psalmist wants us to be all about leading the whole earth in lives that sing God’s praise[i] straining forward to that time when, “All the earth worships you, sings praises to you, sings praises to your name”[ii] Our role & purpose as a people of faith is to know that, believe it, live it!

…REVEL in it! Glorifying God. As Will Willemon writes: This psalm is both missional & evangelistic in its call for a joyous public witness to the true nature of God and to all of God’s liberating work.

The call is not just to God’s people Israel, but to “All the earth” and “All the nations” to join in praising God. All? Again, quoting Will Willemon:  I’m sorry if you thought your religion was a “personal matter,” something “just between me and Jesus.” This morning’s psalm invites the whole town and the whole world to join us in worship. But, he goes on: “Do you think it’s right to talk religion in public?” some folks may ask. “Should we attempt to share our faith with those who are not of our faith?” Well, those questions are answered in Psalm 66[iii]. Shout joyfully to God, all the earth! Sing praises to the glory of God’s name! Make glorious God’s praise! All you nations, bless our God! Let the sound of his praise be heard! 

Our worship of God is the witness that we share with the whole world. While we may tend to think of worship as something inward, private, this psalm invites us to rethink that!

 “For God so loved people like me that God gave . . .” is not what scripture says! But “For God so loved the WORLD[iv].”  We have been chosen to bear witness to the world about this God who so loves them and who has chosen us to let them know! That’s what we are made for! That would be us doing what the mountains and oceans and rivers do best! Being obedient! Allowing our truest selves to be aligned with our default purpose!

We’ve been assigned a mission to live in such a way that all would see who & what God is, and what God’s plan for them & for us all actually is!

  • In a world where there is so much ugliness, injustice & greed, it’s the faithful witness of our inclusive, justice-obsessed, loving, merciful, Christ-centeredness that is meant to show the world another way – God’s way – forming even us into acts of sacred beauty, kindness…

(‘Be kind to one another’… Abbi Roundhill – 4 years old)

  • In a world where there are such strong voices of hate, resentment, Xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, racism, deep animosity, we are grounded in a God that enables us to live lives of healing, compassion, forgiveness…
  • In a world where so many tend selfishly to think of their possessions as “mine,” we choose to bear witness that it is possible for people to be generously open-handed as we give & give & give in response to Christ’s call & the world’s needs.

Just as we see something of what obedience to God’s awesome will looks like in nature, so our everyday living is called to be showcases for what God is and what God can do. The world is quite right to expect to look at us and to see an organization that is markedly different from the world. What they should then be saying is: “See how they love one another! – See how they love us! It’s just too bad that what they say is:  “Look how they fight with one another – and fight with us”

But what about us at Trinity? Aren’t we a loving, caring church? When any one is in need, we may say, the rest of us immediately responds. And of course that is both true as well as kind of heart-warming, …but, kata Ps 66, “It’s not good enough.”

We, the church, for better or worse, are the Body of Christ, and that means we are still the primary way the risen Christ is choosing to take up room in the world. Us! God could have chosen others, or even chosen nature like all those mountains in all their perfect obedience to God’s plan and purposes but no – oddly – God chose us. We don’t know why we have been chosen, but we do know for what we have been chosen! It’s our responsibility and the responsibility of the entire Christian life that we are to bear this news of God’s loving presence into the whole world. It’s true as they say, that ‘we, the “Body of Christ” may be the only dedicated, presence of Christ that others see’.

And so, when others look at you/me, us as individuals, as a Trinity community, what do they see of Christ? How does this link to Holy Communion???

We close by reconnecting our witness with the faithful obedience of nature…


Rev. Robin Jacobson reserves all rights © 2019.
You are welcome to use, copy, edit or reproduce this sermon summary with copyright attached. Publication is prohibited. 


[i] Psalm 66:1

[ii] Psalm 66:4

[iii] Psalm 66:2, 8

[iv] John 3:16