Often, we do, do and do, not pausing to reflect upon what we do. In an otherwise seemingly endless routine of doing and doing, the season of Lent gives us an opportunity to pause and to reflect so as to consider things anew. It is a time during which we consciously allow God to break into our lives and inspire us to see ourselves and the world around us in a new light. Let us consider two confessions in Psalm 148 in this light.
(i) “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (v.8). This is an ancient confession that is echoed in the Bible. Calvin called it a “clear and satisfactory” description of who God is. Wisdom tells us that we become what we worship. If we worship a God who is gracious and merciful and loving, a litmus test that we could put ourselves to this Lent is to ask ourselves if we are truly becoming what we worship.
(ii) “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.” (vv.15–16) These words are said in prayers before meals; they make up a traditional Jewish table blessing; and they are also words used in church catechisms. “You open your hand.” (v.16) God is a God of “the open hand.” If during this Lent we are to reflect upon what it means to be and change in the light of our knowledge of God, we can perhaps start worshipping the God of the “open hand”—by opening our clenched fists and resolving our differences; by opening our often clenched and closed jaws to smile and speak; by opening our closed hearts to hear the word of God and be changed.
Psalm 145 calls for us to be transposed into God’s glory, not to escape from the world but to be better participants in it. In the Hebrew, each line in the Psalm begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, called by commentators “the ABCs of praise.” Deep meaning could ensue if we sink ourselves into these confessions and live our lives in light of the ABCs of this Psalm.
Sunder John Boopalan
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