“Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name.” Selah” (Psalm 66:1 – 4)
I continue to try to discern what it is about some psalm passages that, well, just leave me cold. Or maybe it has more to do with the mood that I am in than the words of the psalm. Right now I am craving quiet alone time. And this psalm just busts and bursts out with noise, loud wind instruments and many, many people being noisy. Could we just turn down the volume a little?
“Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There we rejoiced in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations– let the rebellious not exalt themselves. Selah” (Verses 5 – 7)
Loud praise passages tend to draw on stories and lessons of long ago, and ones that do not resonant with my experiences. My times of praise and wonder have come in spaces and places of holy silence, or whispers of insight and understanding.
“Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs; you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.” (Verses 8 – 12)
There are times, I will admit, that praising the Lord for the success of triumphing over the trials and tribulations that have been part of others’ lives, when we are celebrating with them. Or when a group or a community has emerged victorious from a time of testing. But it is hard to take on the joy and celebration of another when their path has not been your path. Even more difficult to use the words of praise and celebration of one individual or group when it does not fit your own experience.
I talked yesterday of group of ten lepers who were healed but only one came back to thank and praise Jesus Christ. And he was not of the same faith circle as Jesus and the other nine. But his praise and worship of Jesus and God deemed acceptable and worthy of recognition. So I do not feel I am erring here.
The psalmist primary exhortation is to praise the Lord God the Divine. All that follows is particular and specific to the agenda and celebration that the psalmist has in mind at the time of his writing. Praise the Lord God, beloved reader, for the blessings and mercies that have been given to you. And let you praise mingle with the words of praise from generations past and the generations to come. In this way there will be an endless chorus of praise lifted up to the Divine, which is actually the way it should be! Selah!