It was good to be back. I missed last week due to illness, which I think is the third time I’ve missed a service because I was sick since I started doing this . . . in 1995. I haven’t been filling a pulpit or two for every Sunday of the past 23 years but for quite a few.*
The texts took me to an interesting, if not peculiar, question, namely, “Why praise God?” It isn’t entirely a rhetorical question, it is a question where the asking provides an opportunity for some fruitful reflection. Is praising God simply a matter of discipline, i.e. we praise God because we are supposed to regardless of feeling or circumstance? Is praising God some measure of our devotion? Those could very well be part of it but the direction we explored this Sunday was more, we praise God because that is all we can do. We can’t “pay” God back for his grace, for his call to us, for his enabling us to respond to that call.
*maybe someday I’ll figure out how many Sundays I have been in a pulpit. If I ever do, I’ll let you know.