Why we Worship

PSALM 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!
  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
  a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
  and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
  the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
  the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
  sing praises with a psalm!

Why Sing?

God reigns over the nations;
  God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
  as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
  he is highly exalted!


Why Scripture?



 
Glory
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. (Isaiah 48:11)


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Choiring The Proper Praise

February 18, 2009

Who has not been wowed by the majesty of a mountain, or a hummingbird flapping his wings two feet away? There is no end to earthly delights, in all shapes and sizes. And they all point us to our Creator, and praise, whether we like it or not.


Since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Dr. Tim Keller says that "behind everything there is an ultimate mystery, there's an inpentatrable divine realm, behind all of nature there's super-nature, behind the temporal there is the eternal."

Anne Dillard, in her book PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK, in page after page struggles beautifully to describe what she has witnessed in observing our world. She stops short of ascribing her observations to a creating, all-powerful God, but she comes oh, so close.

One day, as she stood on the shore of the Florida coast, some sharks decided to show off.

"There is a way a wave rises above the ocean horizon, a triangular wedge against the sky.

If you stand where the ocean breaks on a shallow beach, you see the raised water in a wave is translucent, shot with lights. One late afternoon at low tide a hundred big sharks passed the beach near the mouth of a tidal river in a feeding frenzy.

As each green wave rose from the churning water, it illuminated within itself the six-or-eight-foot-long bodies of twisting sharks. The sharks disappeared as each wave rolled toward me; then a new wave would swell above the horizon, containing in it, like scorpions in amber, sharks that roiled and heaved. The sight held awesome wonders: power and beauty, grace tangled in a rapture with violence.

We don't know what's going on here. If these tremendous events are random combinations of matter run amok, the yield of  millions of monkeys at millions of typewriters, then what is it in us, hammered out of those same typewriters, that they ignite?

We don't know. Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of a leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.


Speaking of choiring proper praise, here is how the Psalmist articulated his wonder at a crashing wave.

The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea - the Lord on high is mighty. Psalm 93:3-4







Now-You-See-It-Now-You-Don't

February 18, 2009

God's creation plays hide and seek with us. It gives us a beautiful sunset for a moment to enjoy, and then removes it. Thunder lasts only seconds, but it is a glorious moment nonetheless. And we wait on tiptoe for the next peek at earth showing off.


Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high? He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is his stronghold. Job 38:26-28

God here is putting Job in his place, in effect saying, "So Job, do you know how to guide the hawk south? I do." And so on. There is nothing in all creation that God is detached from, even to the minutest detail.

Anne Dilliard in her Pulitzer Prize winning book PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK wonders over and over at the astonishing creation all around her. The bible says that the whole earth is full of God's glory, and consciously or not, she does her best to explore that truth with words.

Unfortunately, nature is very much a now-y-see-it-no-you-don't affair. A fish flashes, then dissolves in the water before my eyes like so much salt. Deer apparently ascend bodily into heaven, the brightest oriole fades into leaves.

These disappearances stun me into stillness and concentration; they say of nature that is conceals with a grand nonchalance, and they say of vision that it is a deliberate gift, the revelation of a dancer who form my eyes only flings away her seven veils. For nature does reveal as well as conceal: now-you-don't-see-it-now-you-do.

For a week last September migrating red-winged blackbirds were feeding heavily down by the creek at the back of the house.

One day I went out to investigate the racket; I walked up to a tree, and Osage orange, and a hundred birds flew away. They simply materialized out of the tree. I saw a tree, then a whisk of color, than a tree again.

I walked closer and another hundred blackbirds took flight. Not a branch, not a twig budged: the birds were apparently weightless as well as invisible. Or, it was as if the leaves of the Osage orange had been freed from a spell in the form of red-winged blackbirds; they flew from the tree, caught my eye in the sky, and vanished. When I looked again at the tree the leaves had reassembled as if nothing had happened.

Finally I walked directly to the trunk of the tree and a final hundred, the real diehards, appeared, spread, and vanished. How could so many hide in the tree without my seeing them? The Osage orange, unruffled, looked just as it had looked from the house, when three hundred red-winged blackbirds cried from its crown. I looked downstream where they flew, and they were gone.  Searching, I couldn't spot one.

Anne Dillard
PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK






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You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3





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