Thursday, June 30, 2011

Praising God

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits..." Psalm 103:1-2
Last night I facilitated a great conversation about praising God in our combined adult Bible class, Going Deep. I had asked the tables to discuss a small way that they have seen God at work. After that I wondered if the table discussion itself could be considered praise of God. One of the points of conversation centered on whether everything we did could be considered praise of God. This was an interesting development, especially as I asked a followup question, "Are you sure everything we do can be considered praise of God?"

Truly the summons to "let everything that has breath praise the Lord" (Psalm 150:6) is present! We certainly need to praise the Lord with everything. I just wonder, as I mentioned as an example last night, whether we would consider even lament as praise of God. Praise, in my mind, could be contained within lament, yet I think they are two distinct things. Is praise just all the good fluffy bunny stuff? Is there a darker side to praise that still contains trust?

I tend to think expressions of praise (both verbal and non-verbal, human and non-human) include expressions of thanks, blessing, magnifying, glorifying, and singing. And my last post about talking to trees betrays my thinking in terms of all creations' ability to speak. What do you think: is there a line to help us understand where praise begins and ends? (leave a quick comment on the blog)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Talking to Trees

Have you ever talked to trees? I did that again yesterday. Here is what I heard them say:

I heard God's creation reaching out as high as possible toward the sky. They were grounded, though, accomplishing the purposes for which they were created. Their shout was clearly a communal one saying, "We move together, intertwined! Each one of us affected by the other, we know it is best to draw on that blessing." I am humbled at their voice; they proclaim their creator every time.

Willing to risk sounding insane, I think everyone needs to talk to trees every now and then! Their message is captivating!
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." Psalm 19:1-4a