Reading: Psalm 148
Verse 13: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”
The psalmist calls for praise. Following the order found in Genesis 1 in the creation story, the writer calls for praise from all parts of our existence. From the sun, moon, and stars, all the way to humanity, the call is to praise the Lord our God. In verse 13 we are provided with the ‘why’: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.” God alone is worthy of our praise. Yet praise is more than simply worshipping God.
Walter Brueggemann argues that our lives should be praise lived out. Yes, we are to worship and praise God for all that God has done and continues to do. But our praise cannot stop in the past or even reside just in the present. Our lives and our praise must also be a part of building God’s kingdom here on earth. Jesus – God with us – best personifies this idea. His life of praise was lived out in the ways he sought the lost and the least; in the ways he healed and cared for the orphan, the sick, the widow; and, in the ways he gave mercy and grace to the outcasts, the marginalized, the sinners. Jesus revealed a new way of being and living in the world. It was the way of love.
As we stand on the brink of a new year, we often think of and reflect back on the year that is ending. May one of our questions be to ask ourselves if we loved as Jesus loved. And then may we consider how we can love God and one another more deeply and more completely in 2023. As we prepare to enter a new year, may we commit to being praise lived out, all for the glory of God.
Prayer: Lord God, as this 24 hours rolls into the next one, it is just another day. Yet it also is a significant change, a moment that calls me to reflection and introspection. Pause with me today, O God. Help me to consider how I can better praise you with my life in the coming year. Sit with me and show me how I can better live out my praise of you, my God, my Lord and Savior. Amen.