Preacher: “Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!”
Seeker 2: Praise the Lord? Ha! With all that is going on in the world?! Turmoil and disaster, sickness and death, rack and ruin! I tell ya’, any one who can find something to praise doesn’t have eyes to see with!
Preacher: “Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!”
Seeker 2: Well, yeah, if you are not talking about the people that are suffering. Sure, nature can praise God. But even nature is suffering come to think of it. I can see that. Pollution choking out life, and animals suffering because they don’t have clean places to live that haven’t been messed up by humanity. But the sun and the moon are not affected. And the stars still twinkle. The sky is there, but you can’t trust the water that comes from it!
Preacher: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.”
Seeker 2: So, the Lord is watching out for all of this? Really? Taking care of it? And in response to all the trouble they are in, they are supposed to praise the Lord?
Preacher: “Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!”
Seeker 2: Preacher, are not hearing me? Nature and humanity are in an awful mess, and you want them to join together as if everything is peachy keen, and praise the Lord?!
Preacher: Seeker, I hear you. And I know you are speaking the truth. The world, nature, and all of humanity are breaking down and suffering. If there is any praise, it is praise from a position of brokenness and want; trouble and turmoil, aggression, war and death. But Seeker, the Lord has not brought about this brokenness. Nature is imperfect, and humanity even more so. All of it is broken and in need of healing. But the Lord stands with us in our brokenness, and loves us in our brokenness. The Lord does not condemn us because humanity has trashed nature and seems bound & determined to ruin all themselves in the process of fulfilling their own will instead of following the Lord’s precepts. We praise the Lord not because of the way things are, but because in the Lord’s love there is hope that someday this brokenness will be mended. And there are people who seek to do this Divine work of mending now!
Seeker 2: “Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and women alike, old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 148)
Preacher: Amen! Selah!