In six short verses the psalmist offers a succession of a dozen entreaties to praise the Lord. These staccato phrases express the where, why, how, and who of praise—with emphasis on the how. How can we offer adequate praise for God’s superlative greatness? In this case the answer comes through a cataloging of means. We are to match God’s overwhelming greatness with our exuberant praise, the instrumentation adding variety and intensity. Every type of instrument is employed—wind, string, percussion. In this symphony of praise, each instrument adds its unique sound. Layer upon layer, they form the song, one instrument complementing another. The psalmist weaves the visual aspect of dance into the auditory fullness of the score. Nothing is held back.
The psalm rises to the crescendo of clanging cymbals, twice mentioned in verse 5, as if to double the volume of an already blaring chorus. The psalm begins and ends with the shout of “Praise the Lord!,” a verbal concentration of overflowing praise.
Psalm 150 invites us to hold nothing back in our worship. We express our adoration with our voice, our expression, our imagination, our instrumentation, and our joyful exuberance. Variety and creativity are essential elements of our praise. While our ability to express God’s supreme worthiness has limits, in worship we strive to push those limits as far as we can.
Almighty God, may I reflect your greatness in my praise. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.