Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 19:28-40
Tuskawilla’s Youth Director – Shrell – and I grew up in the same youth group. We served on the youth council and shared leadership roles among our peers. We led our share of crazy skits and sang in the youth praise band together. One of the songs that we sang with regularity was Ain’t No Rock.
That word ain’t spoke directly to the heart of this Polk County girl.
The song sings,
Ain’t no rock gonna cry in my place. As long as I’m alive I’ll glorify God’s holy name!
Sing! Praise God’s holy name! As long as I’m alive I’ll glorify God’s holy name!
And then the song continues, Ain’t no tree gonna wave its branches and Ain’t no bird gonna flap its feathers.
(Shrell and I would be happy to show off our fantastic dance moves that accompany this song upon request.)
As I reflect on singing this song as a youth, I admit that I was “going through the motions” of those dance moves rather than paying attention to what I was singing. I sang the song but I do not think I fully let the meaning of the song resonate in my heart and then pour out of the actions in my life.
Psalm 148 captures all of creation singing God’s praise. The praises progress from creation following closely the order of God’s creative activity in Genesis 1. Praises ring from the heavens, the celestial bodies, the meterological phenomenons, and the animals that fly, swim, creep, and roam. All of creation praises our God before the psalmist acknowledges that humanity joins the choir. So rocks and trees and birds…they are indeed capable of glorifying God’s holy name if we – if humanity – remains silent. Rocks and all of creation praise God in our place.
The psalmist invites humanity to join the hymn singing, “Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and women alike, old and young together! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord” (Ps 148:11-14)! We join the praise and the hymn ends. I do not think humanity completes the hymn, but I do believe that God is pleased when we make our offering of praise with the totality of creation in worship of our God. It is our choice to join the song; God will not force us. And if we do not join the song, our God will still be praised.
Desiring a greater intention of praising God rather than just ” going through the motions” this week I commit to turning my attention to when and how I offer my praise to God. What are my current circumstances? Am I at peace with these circumstances or wanting a change? How am I feeling? How would prefer to feel? What is God offering me in this moment? How could I show appreciation for that gift? God hears creation’s praise; it is unending. I want God to hear mine, too.
Prayer: “I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath; and when my voice is lost in death, praise shall employ my nobler powers. My days of praise shall ne’er be past, while life, and thought, and being last, or immortality endures. Happy are they whose hopes rely on Israel’s God, who made the sky and earth and seas, with all their train; whose truth forever stands seure, who saves th’oppressed and feeds the poor, for none shall find God’s promise vain. The Lord pours eyesight on the blind; the Lord supports the fainting mind and sends the laboring conscience peace. God helps the stranger in distress, the widow and the fatherless, and grants the prisoner sweet release. I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath; and when my voice is lost in death, praise shall employ my nobler powers. My days of praise shall ne’er be past, while life, and thought, and being last, or immortality endures.”* Amen.
*”I’ll Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath,” The United Methodist Hymnal 60.