"I will bless the ALMIGHTY at all times;
Holy praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the ALMIGHTY;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the ALMIGHTY with me,
and let us exalt God's name together." - Psalm 34:1-3
Writing devotionals several weeks or longer before publication, it's unusual to know just what will be happening on the day these thoughts will fly out through the ether. But August 11 is a set-apart day in our family, as we'll be celebrating our daughter's wedding. "Let us exalt God's name together!"
The book of Psalms notes that this particular song of praise was inspired by one of David's escapes from danger, in this case by successfully feigning madness. But we don't have to be in trouble to take these words to heart: they're a lyric of joy and gratitude for all times.
How good to remember! Whether this is a day for rejoicing, or a day for mourning, or a day for seeking help, or a day for giving aid, or a day for teaching a toddler to walk, or a day for relying on a walker — how good to remember that we have a song of praise that is good for our many circumstances, and an audience who is our Creator, whom we know by a multitude of names:
"I will bless the Provider at all times;
praise of our Sustainer shall continually be in my mouth …"
"I will bless the Healer at all times;
praise of Wholeness shall continually be in my mouth …"
"I will bless the Comforter at all times;
praise of our Shepherd shall continually be in my mouth …"
"I will bless Peace at all times;
praise of Harmony and Justice shall continually be in my mouth …"
"I will bless Love at all times;
praise of Holy Unity shall continually be in my mouth!"
Bless this day, Holy One, with your vision and dream of joy for all peoples. Give us words to sing praise, as you draw us into the mystery of joy beyond time and place. Let exaltation fill my mouth, alongside every person of good heart. Amen.
John A. Nelson is Pastor and Teacher of Church on the Hill, UCC, in Lenox, Massachusetts.