Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious.
There are over 300 references to praise in the Bible. Many appear in the form of imperative sentences, such as the one above.
((You= implied subject) do it.)
A command, not a hint.
Most of the time, I forget this.
I act as if it reads something more like this:
Praise God when you feel good, look good, sound good, are good. When things are going really well in your life, and in the lives of your family members. When the weather is perfect, and the day is way beyond beautiful. When you are awarded the Miss America title…win the lottery… when all of your impossible dreams come true…
Forgetting that in all things… even the horrible and hard things… I am still called to give sacrificial thanks and praise. To cultivate a grateful heart.
My grandson (James’) parents are off on an adventure, which, I am sure, they will tell you about later.
In the meantime, he is making the grandparent rounds.
He was with us for Palm Sunday.
At first, he was enthusiastic, joining in the group dynamic of praising God in joyful assembly.
Our church is informal, so I chased the palm-brandishing cherubs down to the area in front of the pulpit. James diligently waved his palm frond as the praise band led us in joyful hosannas.
Then his mood changed. He decided he didn’t want to be there any more. He was over it.
And he did this:
The whole congregation was praising away while James pouted.
Looking at the pictures later, I recognized in them a self-portrait.
That’s me. Standing there pouting. Having a pity party about being sick for so long and having a bad back and this and that and the other.
While around me, all nature sings forth its brilliant, blooming praise to the Creator.
“…the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
As I contemplate the sacrifice you made for me on Good Friday, I pray that you will grant me the strength and grace to make my own sacrifice of praise to you. Help me to learn to thank and praise you through all the storms of life, even when it costs me something. Especially when it costs me something. Amen.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, LORD, for it is good.
No matter what.