All That Has Breath

Scripture Focus: Psalm 150.1-6
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary; 
praise him in his mighty heavens. 
2 Praise him for his acts of power; 
praise him for his surpassing greatness. 
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, 
praise him with the harp and lyre, 
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing, 
praise him with the strings and pipe, 
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, 
praise him with resounding cymbals. 
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. 
Praise the Lord.

Reflection: All That Has Breath
By John Tillman

Jesus referred to the scripture as, “the law, the prophets, and the psalms” (Luke 24.44) and taught that all scripture was centered on him. Psalms contains many prophecies about Christ and it closes with praise that is due to him in a repetitive, poetic crescendo. 

R.E.O. White (in the Evangelical Commentary) compares Psalm 150’s repetition to the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah, by George Frideric Handel. It is an apt comparison. The chorus repeats, on one note, “King of Kings…and Lord of Lords.” Then answering voices call back energetically, “Hallelujah” and “forever and ever.” This repetition rises, note after note, chord after chord, higher and higher until it seems it can go no farther.

In Psalm 150, more and more instruments and individuals are commanded to join in praise. Imagine the building sound as you read…First trumpets of ram’s horn. Then plucked instruments such as lyres and harps. Next, drums and percussive instruments accompanied by dancers, perhaps stomping out the same rhythm. Next are more stringed instruments as well as flutes or pipes. Then, finally, clashing and resounding cymbals make their entrance.

“Hallelujah” concludes the second of three sections of Messiah. Charles Jennens, who wrote the libretto, titled the section “God’s Triumph.” Jennens specifically wrote Messiah to confront a rising trend of deism that denied Jesus’ divinity. The actual conclusion of Messiah is a section with text from Revelation, titled “Worthy is the Lamb that was Slain.”

Messiah is often performed at Christmas, but its message suits Easter better. It takes pains to present what Christ taught the Emmaus-bound disciples, “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24.26)

Let us celebrate Jesus’ triumph through his crucifixion and resurrection. Like the Emmaus disciples, Jesus is revealed to us in scripture. Are not our hearts burning within us? (Luke 24.32

Let everything that has breath praise the one who surrendered his breath on the cross, yet lives and breathes again. May he breathe on us. (John 20.22) May his Holy Spirit lift us to our feet in praise to dance, sing, play, and serve our communities and our world.

Let there be praise.
In the sanctuary, in the heavens, let there be praise. 
For his power, for his greatness, let there be praise. 
With every instrument of word, deed, music, art, dancing, speech, writing, and labor, let there be praise.

Music: Handel’s ‘Hallelujah!’ Chorus live at the Sydney Opera House; Full performance of Messiah: Handel’s Messiah Live from the Sydney Opera House

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Remember your word to your servant, because you have given me hope.
This is my comfort in my trouble, that your promise gives me life. — Psalm 119.49-50

Today’s Readings

Joel 1Listen – 1:39)
Psalm 149-150(Listen -1:36)

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Creator of Worlds :: Worldwide Prayer

Psalm 148.1-4
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

Reflection: Creator of Worlds :: Worldwide Prayer
By John Tillman

Scripture tells us that creation groans to be released from sin. If the beauty and wonder of creation is what shines through despite its being shackled with sin, how much more beautiful may it be when all has been restored?

And…if creation is still capable of beauty and wonder through its groaning and pain, so much the more are we. We are not mere rocks that cry out, but God’s children whose mouths are filled with ordained praise. 

We are not trees that clap our hands with the breeze but God’s own family who celebrate the grace of God our Father even with our faces set firmly against a blowing gale.

With joy, we join this prayer from Christian brothers and sisters in Jamaica, praising and calling on the Almighty God, creator of all worlds!

Creator of Worlds
Prayer for the preservation of creation from Jamaica

Almighty God: Creator of all worlds!

We honor you for the marvels of your creation, and thank you for that part of it which is our home— the mountains, the green fields, and the sea— the abundance and energy of life in us and around us.

We confess that we have often forgotten that the world is yours and so we have misused and abused your gifts, causing distress and pain to others and to ourselves.

Out of your forgiving grace—hear us now as we pray for healing in our world.

Remember those who behold but cannot appreciate your wonderful world and those who abuse and deface its beauty—that they may discover the joy of tending the garden of the Lord.

Remember those who squander and waste resources you have entrusted to them, but are not concerned that others are starving.

Remember those who respect not life, your precious gift, in themselves and in others, and who from greed, or anger, or malice destroy human life without pity or fear.

Remember those who bear rule in communities and nations, acting with arrogance and without wisdom—that they may know that power is a trust for which they must give an account to you the only Absolute Ruler. May they in humility exercise the stewardship you have allotted them. May their labors promote peace and prosperity among the peoples of our troubled lands.

Oh Lord, help us all to be good stewards of this beautiful universe your mighty hand has brought into being.

In Jesus’ great name.

*Prayer from Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor.


Prayer: The Greeting
For your Name’s sake, O Lord, forgive my sin, for it is great. — Psalm 25.10

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 16-17 (Listen – 5:13)
Psalm 148 (Listen – 1:28)

This Weekend’s Readings
Joshua 18-19 (Listen – 9:59), Psalm 149-150 (Listen – 1:36)
Joshua 20-21 (Listen – 6:58), Acts 1 (Listen – 3:58)

Thank You!
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Readers’ Choice Submissions

It is once again time for us to seek out the voices of our readers and hear from you about posts from the past eleven months that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Readers’ Choice posts will be republished during the month of August and periodically throughout the Fall.

Follow the link to fill out the form. Feel free to fill out the form multiple times for multiple submissions. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.

For any questions about The Park Forum, or to make suggestions of posts via email, contact John Tillman at john@theparkforum.org

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