Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas 1 B - Psalm 148

Psalm 148
Psalm 148 is an all inclusive “Praise the Lord!” song but unless “Sweet Jesus!” or some other less than pastor- like expletive counts as praise I've not appreciated the tempestuous wind doing God’s will on Mustang Island, TX. But maybe that’s the point the psalmist wants to make. Even the things we think of as less than praiseworthy when they address us – fire, hail, creepy things, sea monsters – have to bend the knee, albeit a fin in the case of sea monsters, to the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. Sun, moon, stars, mountains, hills, all creatures great and small, all of creation praises God because “the Lord has raised up strength for the people.” But here’s the thing even the creative psalmist could not imagine. God’s strength would be made manifest in weakness. The praise of the sovereigns of the earth, at least a Roman governor named Pilate and a Jewish high priest named Annas, was to silence God’s strength by nailing Jesus to a tree but surprise (!) even the grave was compelled to praise the one it could not hold. We too are compelled to praise the One we cannot contain or confine in our holy houses of wood and stone, theologies and rituals. That’s because God is always coming to us in new and surprising ways not unlike a tempestuous wind that long ago blew through a house in Jerusalem depositing fire on the heads of young men and maidens so they could praise God in languages they had never learned. So praise the Lord in whatever way you can which means that even the song of sea monsters is pleasing to the one who “created the Leviathan for the sport of it.” 

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