Because God is great

Psalm 150
Many Good Friday worship gatherings include reciting the last seven words of Jesus. That is a good practice. Opportunities to meditate on those words offer insight into the sacrifice of Jesus. They also allow us to connect our prayers to the needs of others who suffer.

We often miss how what Jesus said connects to scripture. His final words were not random. Most of what Jesus says fulfills God’s will according to what we read in the Old Testament.

And, while he was in agony, he was not despondent. Even in his despair he praised God. With his gagging voice, Jesus used his final words to shout God’s righteousness (Psalm 22:31). Jesus trusted God’s will. And the Lord glorified God through his obedience. He knew God was faithful (Psalm 31:5).

As we come to believe and trust more in God’s faithfulness, our response is praise, too. Psalm 150 is the perfect reminder to do so.

Notice the psalmist sees praise extending from God’s sanctuary to the heavens. This is a mighty God, after all! As such, we praise God because of the “mighty deeds” we experience and because God is beyond great.

I’ve mentioned before how I prefer to construct a worship gathering. The entirety of our time together on a Sunday is worship. Our worship takes different forms. So, it’s appropriate to pray for each other and ourselves in worship, for example. But I do my best to begin worship with praising God. We recognize some attribute of our mighty God before we get to unfolding our prayer list. I’m not sure I ever want to put announcements before praise either.

Psalm 150 gives us a reason to praise God.

It also gives us a form.

Notice the instruments: trumpets, lutes, harps, tambourines, stringed and piped instruments and cymbals. And what about the dancing! Also, the breathe of God’s people joins the hallelujah. This isn’t a request, by the way. Every sentence ends with an exclamation point. It’s a call to worship. Knowing who God is and what God does, how can we not praise!

And why do we assume praise is always solemn?

The vision of Psalm 150 is not quiet or reserved. It is loud. That bothers a lot of us. It goes against what we were taught about what worship should look like. Reverence means quiet and respectful. Our last psalm outlines a different approach.

I imagine the psalmist would agree with John Wesley. In his directions for singing, which you can read in a United Methodist hymnal, he offered this encouragement: Sing lustily and with good courage. He also said not to sing too slowly!

Are there different ways to worship God? Of course. But that means it’s just as appropriate to be loud in our worship as it is to be quiet at times.

As you gather for worship with your church family this weekend, think less of the type of worship you have. Consider more the greatness of God and why you’re worshiping. You’ve got some hymns or other worship songs to sing. Be as loud as God is great.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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