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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, September 26, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 113

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
   praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
   from this time on and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
   the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations,
   and his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God,
   who is seated on high,
who looks far down
   on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
   and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
   with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
   making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord! (NRSV)

“Find the good and praise it.” I’ve always appreciated this quote from Alex Haley, author of Roots and other significant writings about the history and ancestry of African Americans. It’s an approach, when used authentically, that I’ve found to be very effective in many aspects of my life. Praise is a call to life, a way to give someone a boost of energy to take the good they do to higher levels, to use their God-given gifts in new and unexpected ways.

So, why praise God? One way of thinking I’ve heard is that we praise God for our sakes, to make us more aware of and grateful for the goodness of God. I think that’s true, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. In addition to asking why we praise God, let’s think about how we praise God. They say that imitation is the greatest form of praise. So, what if we praise God by imitating the actions God takes in this psalm—raising the poor, lifting the needy, giving a person a home? By doing these things, we call the God-given life in us, the body of Christ, to greater fullness. Maybe we actually can give God a praise-driven energy boost!

So, in the spirit of the psalms as songs of praise, sing along. You know the tune.

“Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to thee 
How great thou art, how great thou art 
Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to thee 
How great thou art, how great thou art!”
Amen. (From the hymn “How Great Thou Art” by Carl Boberg)

Reflection written by Jim Kulich, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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