Praising God That I Can

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sunrise

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sunset

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blue skies

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river full of life

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the mystery of the sea

What’s enough? Countless times I’ve watched the sun rise like God’s tender mercy to gently lift the dark blanket from the earth, and countless more times I’ve watched the sun set in such a splendiferous farewell that it must reflect the fringe on God’s robe. I’ve seen the sky define blue and endless. I’ve watched rivers run to the sea, full as life runs to God. I’ve felt the sea roll in on the eternal note of mystery and assurance.

I’ve scratched the ears of dogs, laughed at the ballet of cats. I’ve heard the cry and gurgle of the newborn, played with children, rocked with grandmothers, learned from hundreds of teachers, some of them homeless, poor, and uneducated. 

I’ve been loved and forgiven beyond all deserving, and all breath to tell of it, by family and friends and God.

I’ve been shaken, changed, and blessed a thousand times — and still — by the prophets, and by Christ. I’ve felt the touch of God, each time before I realized that’s what it was. I’ve shared in the cantankerous yet remarkable family of faith called the church. I’m conscious of being conscious and alive. And all that’s just for starters.

How much does it take to praise God? I have a couple of trips around the Milky Way past enough for that, no matter if I never receive another thing. So I best get on with it . . . and praise God that I can.
— Ted Loder from The Haunt of Grace

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dog ears

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cat ballet

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photo of new great-nephew Samuel Oliver by Mieke L.

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play with children

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grandmothers

We forget, in our ever-inward focus, we were created for praise and to give all glory to God.  We are given mouths to sing, hands to clasp, eyes to witness His wonders, forgiveness to try once again to get it right.

Even so, we don’t even recognize the touch of God.

May we, the flawed and broken, meet together today in His church as a family of faith to praise God that we are able to praise Him.

What greater reason is there to exist?

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A Canticle for Advent: Dawning Ray

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1. A Babe is born, all of a Maid
To bring salvation unto us:
No more are we to sing afraid,
Veni, Creator Spiritus

2. Bethlehem, That blessed place,
The Child of bliss then born He was;
He aye to serve God give us grace,
O Lux beata Trinitas.

3. There came three kings out of the East,
To worship there that King so free
With gold and myrrh and frankincense,
A solis ortus cardine.

4. The shepherds heard an Angel cry,
O merry song that night sang he,
Why are ye all so sore aghast,
Jam lucis orto sidere?

5. The Angel came down with a cry,
A fair and joyful song sang he,
And in the worship of that Child,
Gloria Tibi Domine.
~15th century carol

 

The Latin phrases in this old hymn are:

I came as Creator
O light of Holy Trinity
to the focus of birth
dawning ray
Glory to you, O God

May we this day focus on the light of this Birth, this Creator arising from the created, this dawning of glory on earth.

 

 

Advent Sings: Glory to God

painting by Daniel Bonnellwww.bonnellart.com
painting by Daniel Bonnell
http://www.bonnellart.com

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Luke 2: 13-14

Glory comes first, first before anything else.  Glory is God reaching down: it emanates from God, is the essence of God, is our hope and joy to witness through God coming to earth to dwell among us.   We too easily forget that His glory is the reason for which we and everything else was created, that we God breathed his glory into us with that first breath we take.

The world will know no peace, man can know no good will until we glorify God first and foremost.  We are here because he created us in his image to reflect that bright and shining light.   Our stubborn choices, our faults and sins sully that reflection.  We fail to respond with gratitude to the grace we are given, we are self-centered, less humble and forgiving than he designed us to be, we defy his intentions by denying our existence has a glorifying purpose.  We are in sore need of a savior to set us straight again to reflect his glory, to breathe it in and sing it out with every word we utter.

The heavenly host makes it overwhelmingly clear:  we are to glorify God first, first before anything else.   Then all else good and wonderful will come to pass.

And to think the shepherds got a peek of what he looked like that night in a manger.  A glorious plan.  A glorious God.