Psalm 105:1a - Give praise to the LORD…
I cannot give what is not mine. If I have a tin of Altoids, I will certainly offer you one. “Altoid? They’re curiously strong, ya know…”
I cannot give what is not mine. I can give what is mine. You have an Altoid, and now we both have a better kind of curiously strong breath.
David, a songwriter, poet, musician, and get ‘er done kinda guy, wrote a lyric about giving something away — praise. Or, if you will, praize. You will not? Fair enough. Praise it is.
We have oodles and oodles of
I have praise? Pardon my French, but Qu’est-ce que cela veut dire?
Here’s how I see it: nah, we don’t carry praise around like an Altoid, but we do carry the capacity to praise. This ability becomes apparent every time we offer a compliment to someone:
The meatloaf you made was delicious.
I like how you duct taped your shoes together.
I thoroughly enjoyed your monologue about George Foreman.
I don’t care what they say — Canada really is for lovers.
All peoples — Atheist, Religious, and in-between — have praise to give. Genuine praise comes from the heart and is motivated by gratitude — a recognition that someone has done something for me. Their actions have impacted us. We are changed because of their contribution to our experience.
When we give praise, we serve the other person who has served us. We give a glimpse of our affected selves to the benefactor. What you did changed me. Thank you.
Atheist, Religious, and in-between have praise to give. This is part of our human condition. There is something in every human being that wants to show gratitude to God. Not everyone has found the path yet. This is why we keep talking about Jesus. He really is the only way.
Genuine praise comes from the heart and is motivated by gratitude. An emotional synapse must be made. Impression without expression leads to depression. We feel thankful in our hearts and just gotta tell ‘em — for the sake of their heart. We compelled to say “thanks” because we recognize that another has gone the extra mile for me. The Christian view is that God has done something for me that I am genuinely thankful for — he has made me new.
We are changed because of their contribution to our experience. Their actions have impacted us for the better. God has done a great thing for us, you know? Calling God a “contributor to our experience” is like calling air “occasionally refreshing”, as if we don’t need it every second of every day. God sustains us (praise). God rescues us through Christ (super praise).
Praise is a response, not a reaction. A reaction comes without thought. A response requires intentionality. If anything, our reaction is guided by self-preservation. Our response, requiring a consideration of how things are, is an intentional move on our part to express gratitude. To put it another way…
You don’t give until you let go. I choose to send praise your way, God. I realize just how good you are, and I simply must express my heartfelt gratitude.
Recognizing Jesus as the King of Givers will stir gratitude in us. Jesus doesn’t take, take, take. He gives, gives, gives. And when we give, give, give, He receives, receives, receives AND keeps giving and giving and giving. This cycle will somehow never end. This is certainly to our benefit and ultimately to His glory.
So we respond like this:
Thank you, Lord. I give you praise. From all the way down to all the way up. I hold nothing back.
To quote Bono: I can’t live… can’t live without you.
To quote Rend: Praise… like fireworks.
To quote Mary Mary: just wanna praize ‘ya.
Lectionary Landmark: Year A, 7th Sunday after Pentecost