An Advent Journey: Stop, Look, Listen – Day 3

“Praise the LORD!
Let all that I am praise the LORD.
I will praise the LORD as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.
Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.
He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The LORD frees the prisoners.
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down.
The LORD loves the godly.
The LORD protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
The LORD will reign forever.
He will be your God, Jerusalem, throughout the generations.
Praise the LORD!
— Psalm 146, NLT

Whenever I read a psalm like this, I have the sense that I’m eavesdropping on the whole of creation. The green hills, the weathered trees, the surging sea — they all know this song and they sing it so beautifully. 

Yet my song is needed in this chorus, too. And so is yours. 

Look at the list in these verses. All those lines that begin with, “The LORD. . .” Does that list seem vaguely familiar? To me, it is an overtone, in harmony with the Isaiah scroll from which Jesus read as he began his walking-around ministry, the words that he says are fulfilled in the hearing of the synagogue. 

The Lord God made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them — and the psalmist recognizes that. But over and above and around and through all of that wondrous creative genius, there is the shining thread of humanity, people

Like me, like you, like Jesus.

Those who are oppressed and suffering, those who are orphans and widows, those who are victims of injustice, those with broken hearts, those who are starving and those who are blind. 

And that means each and every one of us. 

Even we who are overfed and well-used to justice — even we need a God who keeps promises, a God who lifts us up when we are weighed down. 

Here’s the interesting part, though. WE are the ones through whom those promises are kept and those heavy-hearted ones are lifted. Smack dab in the middle of God’s plan for creation, God’s plan for salvation, God’s plan for reconciliation – we are planted. Because the God Who Is Spirit needs legs and arms and mouths and eyes and ears and tongues in order to make all things new. 

Jesus came to show us how it’s done. And now, it’s our turn. Are you ready? Are you willing to be a piece of the Puzzle? 

I’ll admit, Lord, that I love the creation parts to this song. I’ll sit and look at the ocean and praise your name any day of the week. But these people you made? Well, some of them are a whole lot tougher to sing songs about. So, will you help me to BE the harmony line you’ve designed me to be? Help me to let you sing through me to those with whom I interact and to spread my song far and wide through prayer and gifts and encouragement? Thank you ahead of time. Oh — I’m going to need a lot of reminders about this part, okay? Thanks, again.

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  1. Thank you so much for the reminder of what Jesus is like. So often I read the psalms and I forget to look for him – thank you. Loving your advent thoughts!

  2. I love the way you bring you bring out the implicit challenge in this psalm. It’s something that’s very much on my mind this Advent.

  3. Kind of makes me want to join my voice with yours again and sing in harmony 🙂

  4. Thanks for the encouraging word, Tanya. And thanks for coming by to leave them.

  5. Thank you, Joanna. Glad you could stop by.

  6. Amen to that, sister-o-mine. Would love to do that. SO LOVED YOUR POST TODAY>

  7. I love the thought in the prayer about God singing through me. I’ve never seen it like that before! That my words could be a song of praise to God is a lovely (hopeful!) thought, but the idea that God could be singing to others through my words and actions is just amazing.

  8. Thanks, Donna. That image has been part of my thinking for a lotta years as I was a choral singer for most of m ylife and some of the most gorgeous music in the world feels like God singing through us.