Sermon preached on 2019-11-17 by Rev. Sarah Harrison-McQueen. Worship series, "A Season of Saints." Sermon, "Queen Liliʻuokalani." Psalm 150.
From the beginning of Psalm 1 to the very end of Psalm 150, from “Happy is the one...” to “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord, alleluia!”, the book of Psalms is an invitation to let our faith breathe, and to praise God. Not because all is necessarily well when we pray, but because God listens and answers prayer. The living God often surprises us but never lets us down. This is the profound conviction which undergirds these ancient prayers. The wonder is that everything in human existence, from the highest joy to the deepest desolation, has a place in the Psalms. Nothing is filtered out. Such prayer embraces life whole so as to bring it before God. In this case praise is more than praying to God when things go right. It is all of life as it enters mercy’s light.
Psalm 150, the conclusion to the Psalter, is a prayer of pure praise. The invitation to praise God, “hallelu”, is repeated in each line. A final “Hallelujah” comes once again at the very end. When we reach the final verse, the vista opens wide and the crescendo spills over into a call addressed to all living beings: “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord, alleluia!” Praise carries the believer always further. Where does it lead us? To rejoicing in God’s beauty, to serving God’s joy in one another until it spreads throughout all creation. The breath that makes us live and sing is that which animates all that God has made.
- For what “deeds of power” can I praise God? Where can I see God’s “greatness”?
- If praise is an art, what helps us “learn” to praise God?
- What changes in our lives when we praise or thank God?
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