Hidden in Plain Sight

In the middle of this call to give praise to God, the psalmist describes how a "heavenly world" should be run. What's that doing there?

The Scripture

Psalm 113
as given in the New Revised Standard text

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!

Photo of a flower

Reflection by Deborah Beach Giordano
September 19, 2016

Psalm 113, retold

Give praise, O God’s wise servants;
praise to the One who gives us life.

God is with us, now and forever:
in the earliest flecks of the dawn
and the obsidian recesses of the night.

At all times and in all things,
let us give praise.

The Holy One is beyond
the slanders and slurs of parties and politics,
far from the thrashing and clashing
of cliques and clubs and classes.

God sees us, and knows us, and loves us
now and forever.

The Eternal lifts up the lowly
and raises the forsaken from the ash heap,
that all may sit together: one people, one family
in which there is no separation or favoritism.

God’s goodness reaches to the farthest stars
and across the whole earth.

Give praise, O God’s wise servants!

Reminders

Santa Croce, GiottoSome psalms are intimate prayers, lifting up private joys or hopes or fears from us to our God. Others are songs of communal celebration: a great big group hug directed to the Beloved — although sometimes they are communal complaints when things are going badly. Many serve to remind us of God’s deep and abiding love and goodness and our call to respond to that love: to love as we are loved; Psalm 113 is one of these.

But the writer goes beyond a call to grateful praise by slipping in references to what is out of sync with God’s good plan. Despite the beauties and abundance of the earth, there is ugliness and want; despite our being members of one family, there is violence, division and hate between human beings. It’s just not right.

The world situation is not what it could be and, in order to properly, full, give praise to God, we must give attention to what is amiss. As the prophets never tire of reminding us, God is not praised by songs or cymbals or stained glass, but “by doing the will of the One” who gave us life. All else is commentary.

In all things, let us give praise to the Beloved!

Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,

Deborah

Suggested Spiritual Exercise

All of you know perfectly well what is right, and that’s all that God wants from you: to be just and fair, deeply compassionate, and remember that you are only human. ~ Micah 6:8

Micah reminds us that, while we are to do all that we can, as best we can, we need to keep in mind that we are only human. There is only so much we can do. And, as humans, we are vulnerable to foibles and failings: therefore, before we can hope to change what is wrong in world, we need to deal with what is amiss in our own hearts.

What pulls you away from God?