by Christine Sine
Easter Sunday is over but the Easter season is just beginning, and and I love the psalms that mark the praise and rejoicing of this season. In fact I jumped ahead a bit and have been meditating on some of them quite a bit over the last few weeks as spring has burst forth in all its glory around us. You might say Easter resurrection has been in the air with its hope and promise for several weeks now.
So today I pulled out what I call my resurrection cross and spent time meditating on it. I love to trace its braiding and the pattern of the tree bursting out with life from this instrument of torture. It’s message is so profound and so startling, and it fills me with hope.
As for many of us, Easter has held fresh meaning for me this year. The contrast between the despair of Good Friday and the hope of Easter Sunday is reflected in the despair that has filled many of us over the last few weeks. Yet there is hope and I look out now on a world that is so much living with vibrant new life that I cannot imagine that the despair is forever. We live today in anticipation of this new hope and new life and God’s beautiful creation seems to be leading the way.
A Cosmic Chorus of Praise
Psalm 148 is one of my favourite resurrection psalms and I love the incredible sense of cosmic rejoicing that is expressed especially in The Passion Translation. And today as I read it I was reminded that Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey surrounded by a ragtag band of rejoicing followers but these followers now are joined by the whole cosmos – how magnificent, how majestic, how amazing.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Let the skies be filled with praise
and the highest heavens with the shouts of glory!
2 Go ahead—praise him, all you his messengers!
Praise him some more, all you heavenly hosts!
3 Keep it up, sun and moon!
Don’t stop now, all you twinkling stars of light!
4 Take it up even higher—up to the highest heavens,
until the cosmic chorus thunders his praise![a]
5 Let the entire universe erupt with praise to God.
From nothing to something he spoke and created it all.
6 He established the cosmos to last forever,
and he stands behind his commands
so his orders will never be revoked.
7 Let the earth join in with this parade of praise!
You mighty creatures of the ocean’s depths,
echo in exaltation!
8 Lightning, hail, snow, and clouds,
and the stormy winds that fulfill his word.
9 Bring your melody, O mountains and hills;
trees of the forest and field, harmonize your praise!
10–12 Praise him, all beasts and birds, mice and men,
kings, queens, princes, and princesses,
young men and maidens, children and babes,
old and young alike, everyone everywhere!
13 Let them all join in with this orchestra of praise.
For the name of the Lord is the only name we raise!
His stunning splendor ascends higher than the heavens.
14 He anoints his people with strength and authority,
showing his great favor to all his godly lovers,
even to his princely people, Israel,
who are so close to his heart.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
Read through this psalm several times and imagine the rejoicing of the whole creation that is going on around you. What is your response to the Easter story this year? How do you enter into that rejoicing? What wells up inside you as you consider the parade of praise that you are a part of? What could you do to encourage others to join the parade?
As I contemplate this over the weekend and then walked around the neighbourhood where daffodils, tulips, magnolias, cherry blossoms and many others are singing their joyous praise to God, the following prayer/poem welled up within me:
Majestic maker of all things,
Sculptor and architect of the entire universe,
We sit in awe and wonder of your love.
We listen to the breath of earth and song of heaven,
And join with the Son of God and child of earth,
To add our human voices to creation’s song.
Let the skies sing for joy,
And the earth join the chorus.
Listen to the oceans thunder,
And watch the fields echo with ecstatic praise.
Let the weeds in pavement cracks shout out,
Until every swaying tree of forest,
And city street join in,
And together we lift our songs,
Of joyous praise to God.
(Inspired by Psalm 96 and 148)