Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle
June 11, 2020
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98, one of a small knot of psalms whose point is to shout praise over and over to God. It is a hymn psalm, and one of the ten Royal Psalms themed with “kingship”.
As we pray this exultant psalm, in Latin called “Cantate Domino” (Sing to the Lord), we can almost visualize the psalmist and fellow praisers clapping God on the back and chanting, “Great job! Nice work!”.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
Walter Brueggemann has written extensively about the Psalms. He says this about the act of praise:
Praise articulates and embodies our capacity to yield, submit, and abandon ourselves in trust and gratitude to the One whose we are. … We have a resilient hunger to move beyond self. God is addressed not because we have need, but simply because God is God.
(Israel’s Praise: Doxology against Idolatry and Ideology)
We don’t have to be as articulate as the psalmist to weave praise into our prayer.
Sometimes when we catch the sunrise at a morning window, we might quietly say, “Great job! Thank You, Radiant God”
When we look at the magnificence of a natural wonder like the Grand Canyon, we might abandon words and simply let our breathing be praise.
When we study the finely-aged face of a beloved elder, we might praise the monument of grace God has worked in her/his life.
When we finger the strings of our own faith history, we might, in our own words, echo the psalmist:
I sing You a new song in every moment, Lord
for You have done wondrous deeds;
Your loving hand has strung grace through my life,
your generous heart has blessed me amazingly.
Poetry today from Mary Oliver who rejoices in the redbird’s morning praise:
All night my heart makes its way
however it can over the rough ground
of uncertainties, but only until night
meets and then is overwhelmed by
morning, the light deepening, the
wind easing and just waiting, as I
too wait (and when have I ever been
disappointed?) for redbird to sing
― A Thousand Mornings
Music: Cantate Domino – Claudio Monteverdi