[No, beloved reader, you did not miss seeing this one. Apparently it did not post correctly. My apologies if you were looking for something on the 28th. Here it is, better late than never!]
Seeker: “O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.”
Preacher: Dear listener, consider how often nature has been exhorted to praise and worship the Lord. Creation, itself, at any given moment is praising its Lord and Creator. From the swaying of leaves and branches to the blooming of flowers, and all the animals of the land, water, and sky going about their assigned tasks are raising praises to the Lord.
Seeker: “Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.”
Preacher: Do not question and wonder at what I say. To us nature is simply going about its own business doing what is instinctive and natural. And if at times nature seems harsh and unforgiving, that is what nature is – starkness of life and death. But we, dear listener, are not caught in the cycle of nature. Flesh we may be, and from humble earthly beginnings. But our higher natures are modeled after the Lord. For us the exhortation to worship and praise means more than just following our earthly natures.
Seeker: “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.”
Preacher: We are called to know and acknowledge our God. To us the Lord has given wider and deeper understandings. From the very beginning when humanity was called into relationship with God we were given a vital role in the Lord’s “marvelous works.”
Seeker: “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.”
Preacher: If we lift our eyes only as far as our own concerns, we do no more than the animals of the land, water, and sky. Our gods are the gods of earthly concerns which die when the flesh dies.
Seeker: “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.”
Preacher: The Lord God is more and greater than that. Do not let our thoughts and minds stop at only our concerns. Let us lift up our eyes farther, to the heavens where the Lord dwells and where our truer home is.
Seeker: “Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.”
Preacher: The things of this earth do not last long. So let us not put those concerns ahead of the precepts and statutes of the Lord. Let us strive for those things that last, that survive beyond the death and end of flesh. What is beauty on the earth is not the beauty that is in heaven. What is truly honorable may have its beginnings in this world but will find its truer meaning and fulfillment in the world to come. The Lord does not measure strength by our terms but by Godly terms. Majesty belongs to the Lord, and it is in the Lord’s sanctuary that we should build up our treasures.
Seeker: “Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.”
Preacher: Will we be satisfied by what we find in this world? Or will we look beyond this world to the next? Hold out, dear listener, for the gifts that come from the Lord and are the Lord.
Seeker: “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.”
Preacher: Worship the Lord while you are in this world; but realize that this world can not contain the power and the glory that is the Lord.
Seeker: “Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.”
Preacher: But, you may ask, how can we adequately worship what is so beyond us? How can we understand what is so far above us? It is true, we can see only this world. It is the only reality we can know. We are flesh. We are bound by this world. If we are made in the image of the Lord God, it is in fleshly sinew and bone that the image is cast in.
Are we doomed then? Do we look up to the heavens seeking and hoping for the Lord’s favor and glory, but still find ourselves mired in flesh and the hold it has over us?
Seeker: “Say among the nations, “The Lord is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Preacher: The Lord created this world, and we who are in it. We cannot free ourselves from the hold that sinew and bone has over us. But remember, dear listener, that the Lord reigns over the world and all creation remembers that the Lord cares for it and nurtures it. In the Lord’s time all of creation and all of humanity will be set free from the sin and imperfection that holds it back. That is why all of creation rejoices; not for what it is now but what it will become!
Seeker: “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it.”
Preacher: So dear listener, let us rejoice with creation that our Lord watches over us, tends to us, cares for us and plans for our fulfillment.
Seeker: “Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth.”
Preacher: Wait, dear listener, wait for the Lord. Keeping watch for the Lord and praise while you wait. Praise with tongue and soul, with body and heart.
Seeker: “He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.” (Psalms 96)
Preacher: Hold to the commandments that the Lord has set before and the teachings that Christ have given us. For it is by these things we will be judged and through these things that we will be set free. Selah!