Today is Palm Sunday. Hopefully you had a chance in church today to reflect on the praise that was offered Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday long ago. There are many interesting things about this event in Christ’s life. For me, one of these is how when the crowd was shouting “Hosanna” some of the Pharisees complained and encouraged Jesus to rebuke his disciples. His response was, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40) Do you think the stones would really have begun to praise God if the people had quieted down? Some would say “of course not, stones can’t cry out!” while others might not be so sure. I find myself in the latter camp.
This morning I came across a prayer in which all of Creation is invited to join in the praising of God. Its source was identified as a “Medieval Prymer.” If it sounds a bit fanciful to you, you might want to check out Psalm 148 where the Psalmist offers a similar call to worship. This is the prayer I found: “Sun and moon, bless the Lord; fire and heat, bless the Lord; winter and summer, bless the Lord; frosts and cold, bless the Lord; ice and snow, bless the Lord; praise him and magnify him forever. Nights and days, bless the Lord; light and darkness, bless the Lord; lightning and clouds, bless the Lord; praise him and magnify him forever. Let the earth bless the Lord; mountains and hills, bless the Lord; all green things on earth, bless the Lord; praise him and magnify him forever.”
I like the thought of Creation offering God praise. For starters, it just seems fitting. I also like the thought because I realize that God deserves all the praise He can get and we humans—including myself—often fail to offer God the praise He is so worthy of. It’s comforting to know that the sun and moon, the ice and snow, the light and darkness, the mountain and hills all bless the Lord when I fail to.
I also see the thought of Creation always praising God as something of a challenge or source of motivation. If Creation, which doesn’t have the same capacity to know and experience God as we do, can offer God wondrous and continuous praise, shouldn’t I be doing a better job of it myself? As we journey through Holy Week this coming week, I encourage you to join me in attempting to offer God the very best praise you can. When we pause to remember what this special week is all about, failure to do so would have to be considered both unacceptable and sinful. Let us all join together with Creation in blessing the name of the Lord in the days to come.
(I took the top image at Bernheim Forest in Kentucky, the middle image at Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, and the bottom image at Yellowstone National Park.)