We praise people to affirm them, but God doesn’t need our affirmation to be God.

We praise others to encourage them to continue on a certain path, but God works in God’s way.

We praise people to keep them from being discouraged and quitting too soon, but God doesn’t have this human failing.

So why do we praise God? We praise as an act of obedience. Simply doing what is right or what we have been asked can be powerful.

We praise God because we are thankful. Our failure to be thankful can promote self-centeredness. Praising God cures our pride. It turns our focus away from ourselves toward God.

We praise God as a testimony of our faith to those around us. Our praise shares God’s wonder with others.

Our praise turns us to the Center of Reality. Our praise speaks of an infinite, loving, righteous, and holy God. We understand, in that moment of praise, who God is and who we are. As the priest tells the young protagonist in the movie Rudy, “I’ve come up with only two hard incontrovertible facts; there is a God, and I’m not him.”

We praise to encounter the living God. In the act of praise, we encounter God. As we worship, we enter into direct communion with God, just as we do in the sacraments of Communion and baptism.

We praise in obedience, in gratitude, as a testimony, and as a reality check. And for the most precious of all moments, to be in the very presence of God.

Praise be to God, Father of us all!

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 13:31-35

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Lectionary Week
May 13–19, 2019
Scripture Overview

Change can be difficult. It is easy to get comfortable with what is familiar. In Acts, some in Jerusalem criticize Peter for having fellowship with the Gentiles. Peter explains that his actions are not his own idea but are inspired by a vision from God. This change leads to the spread of the gospel. Revelation speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. God cares for the earth that God created, but at the end of time everything will be changed and made better. Jesus tells his disciples in John a new commandment, namely that they should love one another. This is how others will know that they are truly Jesus’ disciples. Psalm 148 is not about change but is pure praise for the works of the Lord.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Acts 11:1-18. God calls Peter to initiate change. How do you respond to changes in your church’s culture? How do you discern what changes are from God?
Read Psalm 148. The next time you sing, focus on praising God and sharing God’s love through your words and melody.
Read Revelation 21:1-6. How do you live a full life in the waiting for the new heaven and new earth?
Read John 13:31-35. In the wake of betrayal, Jesus calls his followers to sacrificial love. When have you needed to heed the call to this type of love?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.