An Expansive Call to Worship
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens! Praise him from the skies!
As a pastor for more than twenty years, I have "called people to worship" dozens, if not hundreds, of times. As the first action in a worship service, I would stand up before the gathered congregation, inviting the people to worship and offering a reason why they should worship. The simplest version of a call to worship might go something like this: "Praise God because God is great."
Psalm 148 is an expansive call to worship. Though written to encourage God's people to worship, it literally speaks, not just to people, but to all of creation. The first verse calls for praise "from the heavens." The following verses speak to heavenly beings (angels, etc.) and heavenly bodies (sun, moon, etc.). Everything in the heavens should praise the Lord because he created them and put them in their rightful place (148:5-6).
The next section of Psalm 148 calls for praise "from the earth" (148:7). Terrestrial praise is due from ocean creatures, weather (fire, hail, etc.), geographic features (mountains, etc.), plant life, animals, and people of all kinds (powerful and ordinary, young and old, male and female).
Why should all creation, both in heaven and on earth, praise the Lord? In part, praise is a fitting response to God's creative power (148:5-6). But praise is also a right response to God's revelation of himself (148:13-14). He has revealed his great name and unmatched glory. He has saved and honored his people, thus revealing his power and mercy. Thus, worship is an apt response to God's action and self-revelation.
If we want to worship God with vigor, we ought not to rev something up in our hearts. Rather, we need to focus on who God is and what he has done. Most of all, we bring to mind God's revelation and salvation in Jesus Christ, the Word of God Incarnate. The more we reflect upon Christ, the more we will be drawn to worship God expansively, offering all our praise and all that we are for his honor and glory.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you worshiped God fully and freely? What encourages your worship? How might you respond to the invitation of Psalm 148?
PRAYER: All praise be to you, O God, because you have created and ordered all things. Indeed, the heavens declare your glory through their beauty and precision. The earth reflects your power and creative vision in its grandeur and variety. All creation points to you, offering unique praise and beckoning us to join in.
All praise be to you, O God, because you have made yourself known in Jesus Christ. You have revealed your truth, love, justice, mercy, and grace. You have shown us who you are, both in the person of Christ and in his saving sacrifice.
May we praise you, O God, in all that we say and all that we do, with all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our strength.