Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling God’s command! – Psalm 148:7–8 (NRSV)
This psalm is a big old praise fest. In my imagination, the psalmist is on a brightly lit stage with an uncountable host in attendance. And like a hype artist getting the crowd ready for the headliner, the psalmist engages in the ancient art of the shoutout:
Is there anybody here from Judea tonight? Let me hear you! (thundering applause)
Now how about the ladies? Are there any ladies in the house? (shouts of jubilation)
And now let’s hear it from the sea monsters! (exuberant…uh…splashing?)
The psalmist here is unperturbed by the notion of the existence of sea monsters. In fact, the psalmist assumes that you as the reader are also familiar with said monsters. Because sea monsters are included in a list of super ordinary phenomena such as strong winds. Snow? Check. Princes and rulers? Check. Sea monsters? Check.
There’s a glorious wonder to it all, a childlike certainty that the world is full of great and unknowable vistas yet to be explored. The world in all its wonder contains much that is known and even more that is unknown. And this too is an occasion for praise.
I could use a bit of that same spirit, the bone deep conviction that surprises are just around the corner. That along with frost and wind, the sea monsters and heavenly host are as near as our next breath. That a new world might break out at any moment.
God, grant me faith enough to believe in all seasons. God, grant me wonder enough to search for you around every corner. God, grant me hope enough to seek you anew each night.
Rev. John Edgerton is Senior Minister and CEO of Old South Church in Boston. He is the 21st Senior minister in the congregation’s over 350 year history.