Praising God: Part 1
Are you ready for some good news?
Praising God is simple and powerful.
As we look at Psalms, we reflect on a psalm of pure praise:
“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.” (Psalm 111:1–2, ESV)
Praise isn’t a technique or a program. It is a deep, candid response to the glory and riches of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
Some years ago, my neighbors went to the Grand Canyon. After his first, jaw-dropping glimpse from the rim, the 8-year-old boy in the family turned to his father and exclaimed: “Dad, I’m so proud of God!”
When people see the Grand Canyon for the first time, you don’t have to coach them into awe. Celebration happens when we experience glory and beauty.
A pastor friend had a very special parishioner I’ll call Joe. He was a teenager with Downs Syndrome who loved church. He loved the classic hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy” (which was number 11 in the old Presbyterian hymnbook). Joe called it “No. 11” because he’d seen it abbreviated as such in the bulletin.
Every week, Joe would ask my friend, “Pastor Ray, when are we going to sing no 11?” And every week, Pastor Ray would respond, “Soon, Joe, soon.”
One Sunday soon after, “Holy, Holy, Holy” was scheduled. Before the service, my pastor friend sought out Joe.
“Joe, guess what hymn we are singing today?”
“Number 11, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy!’”
Josh threw his right hand into the air and as he pulled it down triumphantly, shouted, “Yes!”
Any child knows how to praise. Adults don’t need to be taught how to praise as much as they need to unlearn their inhibition to celebrate great gifts. We don’t need to urge people to praise as much as we need to show them something praiseworthy. I don’t expect someone to be amazed at the restroom in the campground at the Grand Canyon. It’s the canyon itself that takes one’s breath away. If you want to develop of life of praise, fix your eyes on Jesus and, when you see Him, just cry out: “Yes!” You were made for praise. And that’s the Gospel!
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