Reflections: August 1, 2020
Saturday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
By Joel Shaltanis
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised… (From the Introit for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I once heard an atheist make the snide remark, "Your God must have a low self-esteem, as much as He needs you to praise Him!" That misunderstanding reduces praise of God to cheap flattery. The Lord God does not require anything from us. When the Lord's saints in heaven and on earth praise Him, it is not because He needs us to, but because we need to praise Him! We can't help ourselves.
Let's say you lost your phone and couldn't afford a new one. When your friend Gabriel heard, he decided to upgrade to a brand new phone so he could give you the one he was using. What would you do? Of course, you would thank Gabriel and tell him how much you appreciate his kindness. Thanksgiving is a very important kind of praise. But you would probably go beyond that. Anytime someone noticed your phone you would be quick to tell them how your good friend Gabriel gave it to you.
In the same way we might praise a good friend, praising God is recognizing Him for who He is and what He has done. It is telling the truth about Him and extolling His goodness, not in an attempt to flatter Him, but as a sincere expression of our gratitude. We want others to know how blessed they are by God, so we extol His virtues with our praise, so they join our adoration of the God we love and who loves us.
God's steadfast love for us deserves our highest praise. He loves sinners, the weak, all those who fall short and are in need of forgiveness. His steadfast love was made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ, who took on our sins and died for them on the Cross. This compels us praise God because we are forever grateful and will sing our songs of praise now and in heaven. We also praise the Lord and extol what He has done so others might know of His enduring love and join in the never-ending song. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
As I pray, dear Jesus, hear me; Let Your words in me take root. May Your Spirit e'er be near me –That I bear abundant fruit. May I daily sing Your praise, From my heart glad anthems raise, Till my highest praise is given In the endless joy of heaven ("Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens," LSB 589, st.4)
-Rev. Joel Shaltanis is pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Plano, TX.
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