Pastor’s ponderings

Today we continue to examine the Vision for our Parish in the coming months and year, as it has been outlined in Psalm 116:12-19, concentrating on praise, prayer, and service.  Last week we identified that these things will always be done together.  They are not tasks left to us alone, but for the uplifting of the entire Body of Christ, united in our endeavors.  Today, we take a deeper look into what praise really looks like.  Our Psalm (as written in Eugene Peterson’s biblical paraphrase The Message) says that “I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God!”  and that “I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice,” but what does that look like for our Parish?

            A modern dictionary may define praise with similar words like adoration, admiration, or approval of someone or something.  It is, in essence, an expression of thankfulness.  Yet, somehow, in the context of praising God, that just doesn’t seem like enough, does it?  I know that on occasion, I have received praise for a job well done, whether it be for something done at church or in my previous secular career, but these were always isolated incidents.  They were one-time recognitions.  Is this how we interact with God?  Do we only praise God in limited situations, like Sunday morning or while gathered at the church?

            True praise of God goes well beyond any given time or place but encompasses every situation and setting.  After all, 1 Thess 5:16-18 tells us: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (NRSVUE).  Praise comes from the very depth of who we are and is a response to the relationship we have with God.  It should never be isolated but be found in all times and places.

            So, I suppose, the real question to ponder today is – how might you praise God in this very moment?  How might you give a toast to God?  How might you offer the thanksgiving sacrifice where you are right this very moment?

                        Always pondering,

                                                            Pastor Steve

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