Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The dawn's chill on my skin and the warmth of the the sunlight combined with clear skies to make this one of the most beautiful mornings so far this year. Through the woods by my house the wind was singing, the trees were swaying, and their song and dance was amazing! It's the last morning of 2008.

How does one express the feelings of thankfulness and joy that such splendor stirs? Poetry has been a creative outlet for emotional expression for millennia. Accompanied by music, songs of new days, winter nights, loneliness and contentment can still be felt years after their authors are gone.

Strangely enough, this morning I thought of the Beatles:
Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue

It's beautiful and so are you

Dear Prudence won't you come out and play

(Copyright, Lennon/McCartney)

The song is a great expression of just enjoying being alive! To me, the rest of the song conveys an overwhelming sense of gratitude for life! It invites "Prudence" to that enjoyment and gratitude. But, to whom are we grateful? This is where the song runs out of meaning, like being in love with no object of love would be meaningless.

I can't imagine celebrating Thanksgiving, enjoying Christmas, or even feeling the smile that comes over my face on mornings like this, without being able to thank someone! Like the old joke about the atheist at his own funeral, "all dressed up with no place to go," is the feeling of thankfulness without someone to thank!

This is where the Psalms come in; poetry that takes the next step. Yes, I can relish in the sensations of dawn and dusk all by myself, but the Psalms give focus to those feelings. The Psalms point upward, saying, "praise ye the LORD!" The Psalms somehow give the Lover and His beloved back to one another.

Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy.
You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.
- Psalm 65:8-9

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth. -
Psalm 96:11-12

See how God remains the central point of focus to all the beauty of nature? He is the object of our worship! He is the desire of the everlasting hills! I carry a couple of Psalms around in my thoughts for just such times. Psalm 103 is a favorite. It's a bursting out of praise for what the Lord does.

Spontaneity is why they're better memorized. Carry anything from an index card to a smart phone containing your memory verses, so you can pull them out for practice anytime. They'll be great enhancements to worship, the way hymns or worship songs are.

One more thing: These Psalms need to be spoken out loud to get all the "goody" out of them! Don't think them, or even whisper them. Say them at speaking volume, or even louder! If you're worried what others will think about you walking around monologuing, find somewhere secluded. That's why I was in the woods this morning!

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