Preaching Connection: Praise

Additional content related to Praise

Psalm 98

Reading Psalm 98 is like uncorking a well shook-up bottle of champagne.  The cork rockets upward and the bubbly inside the bottle fountains forth in exuberance.  We’ve all seen those locker rooms after a team wins the World Series or the Super Bowl when players spray each other with such bottles—some years ago someone finally…

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Psalm 111

In a recent sermon commentary on another psalm, I observed that although the poetry of the Psalms and the wisdom literature of Proverbs or Ecclesiastes are distinct in terms of biblical literary genre, there is a lot of crossover between the Books of Psalms and Proverbs.  Psalm 111 is another example of this with its…

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Psalm 146

In contemporary music there are few crescendos quite as dramatic and raucous as the one that concludes the Beatles song “A Day in the Life.”  A somewhat wild cacophony of strings, brass, and percussion all come together to end this remarkable song with a bang followed by a very long sustain on a piano that…

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Psalm 113

In Robert Duvall’s film, The Apostle, we see a vignette of what could be described as a very “in your face” style of praise.  The revival worship services of a certain stripe of Deep South fundamentalism are high-decibel, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, gizzard-piercing spectacles that are most decidedly not for the faint of heart! And yet, in…

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Psalm 66:1-9

A bit cheeky.  A goodly dose of chutzpah.  A tad forward.  You have to admire the psalmists who on many occasions are not the least bit adverse to ordering the whole world to praise the God of Israel.  Make no mistake: all those “Praise the Lord” lines in so many of the psalms are in…

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Psalm 97

A few years ago the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship produced a new hymnal based on the Psalms.  Its title is “Psalms for All Seasons.”  The title is apt because as most of us know, the Hebrew Psalter is a collection of varied prayers that matches life’s many and varied seasons.  As C.S. Lewis and…

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Psalm 148

Some years back at a worship service we used St. Francis of Assisi’s poem “Canticle of the Sun” as part of a responsive reading.  There was, alas, a slight typo in the bulletin that made it sound at one point as though we were worshiping Mother Earth.  This led a rather conservative member of my…

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Revelation 5:11-14

This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s John reminds me of young children who tell their parents or grandparents a story that so excites them that it tumbles out of them in a string of run-on sentences that begin with “And ….” You may know the form. “I was walking home from school and I saw this big…

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Psalm 150

Whether it’s a Broadway play like Les Miserables or a classic movie like The Sound of Music, most people enjoy a good musical. But have you ever wondered what it is about such productions that appeals to us? After all, musicals are decidedly unlike real life. In The Sound of Music people burst into song…

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Luke 19:28-40

Comments, Questions, and Observations “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” These words are shouted by a “multitude of disciples” as Jesus rides on a donkey into Jerusalem (v 37). The people are compelled to shout these praises because of all…

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Psalm 138

The Lectionary likes Psalm 138 and slates it sometimes in Ordinary Time and sometimes in Epiphany.  I have several sermon commentaries on the CEP site on Psalm 138 but for this week I will riff on the last time I wrote about this in the Sundays after Epiphany. I have noted often in my sermon…

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Psalm 71:1-6

There is a part of the well-known story (and the popular Sunday School story) of “Jacob’s Ladder” that most people don’t know about or just ignore.  The outlines of the story are familiar and are also accurate enough to the biblical text in Genesis: Jacob is on the lam, fleeing the fury of his brother…

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Psalm 19

Almost 120 years ago an unknown patent clerk named Albert Einstein published a series of papers detailing what he called “special relativity.” At one fell swoop, Einstein shattered centuries’ worth of scientific theories about the fundamental nature of reality. The theories of Isaac Newton and his mechanical understanding of the universe’s functioning were swept away,…

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Psalm 148

When I was a pastor, I liked every sixth year when Christmas Day fell on a Sunday.  First, it eliminated the need for an extra service and second, it eliminated conversations with leadership as to whether to hold any extra services in case . . .  well, in case Christmas Day fell on a Saturday. …

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Psalm 145:10-18

The Lectionary likes Psalm 145 but chops it up a little differently each time.  That’s a shame since the psalm is meant to be read as a single unit and presents a unified theme too.  Probably for this particular Sunday the RCL chose this part of Psalm 145 because of the verse about God’s giving…

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Psalm 30

Psalm 30 is almost singularly upbeat in its incessant exaltations of God.  But the discerning reader and preacher will notice that underneath all this praising there has been a history of pain.  References are made to having gone down to the depths, to sinking into the pit, to enemies eager to gloat over the psalmist’s…

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Psalm 98

Reading Psalm 98 is like uncorking a well shook-up bottle of champagne.  The cork rockets upward and the bubbly inside the bottle fountains forth in exuberance.  We’ve all seen those locker rooms after a team wins the World Series or the Super Bowl when players spray each other with such bottles—some years ago someone finally…

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Psalm 95

Growing up in a tradition that had once upon a time been founded on Psalm singing only in church, I sang lots of psalms in my boyhood church even long, long after my Reformed tradition had added also hymns to our standard Psalter Hymnal songbook.  Even as a young boy, though, I was struck by…

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Psalm 148

The time between Christmas and Epiphany is one of those flex times in the Revised Common Lectionary—sometimes there are two Sundays after Christmas and before January 6 and sometimes just one in case Epiphany falls exactly on the second Sunday after Christmas.  So sometimes Psalm 148 is in the Lectionary mix and sometimes it isn’t.  …

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Psalm 98

Reading Psalm 98 is like uncorking a well shook-up bottle of champagne.  The cork rockets upward and the bubbly inside the bottle fountains forth in exuberance.  We’ve all seen those locker rooms after a team wins the World Series or the Super Bowl when players spray each other with such bottles—some years ago someone finally…

Explore

Psalm 66:1-9

A bit cheeky.  A goodly dose of chutzpah.  A tad forward.  You have to admire the psalmists who on many occasions are not the least bit adverse to ordering the whole world to praise the God of Israel.  Make no mistake: all those “Praise the Lord” lines in so many of the psalms are in…

Explore

Psalm 97

A few years ago the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship produced a new hymnal based on the Psalms.  Its title is “Psalms for All Seasons.”  The title is apt because as most of us know, the Hebrew Psalter is a collection of varied prayers that matches life’s many and varied seasons.  As C.S. Lewis and…

Explore

Revelation 5:11-14

It seems in some ways appropriate that Revelation 5 begins with a sob but ends with a hymn.  That, after all, doesn’t just encompass part of the range of emotions within which God’s adopted sons and daughters generally live.  It also follows the arc along which God wants to move God’s beloved people.  That’s why…

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Psalm 150

Whether it’s a Broadway play like Les Miserables or a classic movie like The Sound of Music, most people enjoy a good musical. But have you ever wondered what it is about such productions that appeals to us? After all, musicals are decidedly unlike real life. In The Sound of Music people burst into song…

Explore

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Call it the little Psalm that could.  Call it the Psalm of stealth and surprise.  Call it the Psalm that fits the Gospel bill. Why?  Because out of all the 150 psalms in the Hebrew Psalter, many people have their favorites but those favorites—most anybody’s “Top 10 Greatest Hits of the Psalter” list—would likely not…

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Philippians 2:5-11

The retired American basketball star Charles Barkley once famously said in a television commercial, “I’m not a role model … Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”  In doing so, he displayed the kind of wisdom that other public figures sometimes lack. The Epistolary Lesson the RCL appoints for…

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Psalm 138

Our prayer life should be our autobiography, C.S. Lewis once observed.  But that is also why Lewis thought the Hebrew Psalter was such a fitting prayer book since it contains prayers that fit a wide variety of life’s experiences.  Were the 150 Psalms all in one particular emotional register, what help would it be for…

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Psalm 71:1-6

There is a part of the well-known story (and the popular Sunday School story) of “Jacob’s Ladder” that most people don’t know about or just ignore.  The outlines of the story are familiar and are also accurate enough to the biblical text in Genesis: Jacob is on the lam, fleeing the fury of his brother…

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1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

You will be quickly forgiven if, upon first reading, you decide not to preach on this little snippet of Scripture.  How can you build a helpful Gospel centered sermon on this gerrymandered bit of fluff?  Why in the world would the RCL land here for this first Sunday after Christmas?  I mean, the first Sunday…

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Psalm 148

We have but one Sunday after Christmas this year as Epiphany proper is already next week on January 6.   So the Lectionary decided to let loose with all the post-Christmas praise it could muster by choosing Psalm 148.  Talk about relentless!  This Psalm is one long string of the imperative hallelu yah or “Praise Yahweh,”…

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2 Chronicles 20:1-30

Comments, Observations, and Questions to Consider Firm places often prove otherwise. Stand on financial security? One Wall Street crisis and retirements are on sinking sand. Stand on your strength of your heroes? Say it ain’t so, Joe, but even childhood idols like Lance or Tiger leave us disappointed. Stand on national defense? See 9-11. Stand…

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Genesis 14:1-24

Reflections and connections for 1-11, 12-16, and 17-24 Years ago, we would ask a family friend who was part of the “Greatest Generation” about his experience in World War II.  Part of our inquiry was the result of our curiosity; another part was our interest in honoring him.  His memories and his narration were always…

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Ephesians 1:3-14

On this first Sunday of the New Year, it can feel like we are entering “the bleak mid-winter.” All the holiday celebrations are over, so now it’s just one cold, grey, snowy day after another, at least here in West Michigan. But that’s not where our lectionary lesson from the Epistles takes us today. This…

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Psalm 148

Comments, Observations, and Questions to Consider This is a stirring call to praise that’s strikingly reminiscent of Francis of Assisi’s beautiful hymn, “All Creatures of our God and King.”  It’s an invitation to “all creatures of our God and King” to lift up their “voices and with us sing, alleluia, alleluia.”  In fact, Psalm 148…

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Psalm 29

Psalm 29 is a hymn of praise to the God of creation. It’s a rather “noisy” psalm that the poet fills with the sounds of praise, thunder, wind and even the sound that earthquakes make. It’s a psalm that the psalmist also fills with vivid images of angels around God’s throne, flashes of lightning, twisted…

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