sermon for 12/26/10 “wake the neighbors” psalm 148

The text of the sermon delivered by Rev. Kirk Moore at Union Congregational United Church of Christ in Somonauk, IL on Sunday, December 26,  2010.

“Wake the Neighbors”  podcast

This morning’s Bible reading is Psalm 148

Psalm 148 is full of celebration. It’s joyous, jubilant, and exciting.

It also sounds a little bit like a preacher on a roll – only they are having trouble keeping things coherent.

This is what I think a Psalm 148 sermon might sound like if a commentator made comments during it.

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Commentator: What are the heights?

Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
Commentator: Of course – they have to, right?

Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
Commentator: wait a minute – those things can’t do stuff like that!

Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Commentator: waters above the heavens? Uh . . . .

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.
Commentator: OK – so everything God’s created celebrates – I’m starting to understand

He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
Commentator: Preacher’s on a roll! Preach it! Preach it!

Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
Commentator: Uh . .. Sea monsters? Wait a minute now.

Fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Commentator: What is this preacher talking about now? I think the thought train is out of control!

Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
Commentator: Fruit trees? I’m hungry now.

Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!
Commentator: Creeping things. That sounds like creepy things. (laughing to self)

Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Commentator: OK – back on track now.

Young men and women alike, old and young together!
Commentator: Yes! Everyone together praising God! We’re on another roll!

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
Commentator: This whole place is about to shout out loud. I can feel it building!

He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the LORD!
Commentator: That horn thing is the Shofar, right? It gets people all riled up. We’re really rolling now! Let’s keep going! Let’s sing! Let’s shout! Praise God!

Electric praise. Exuberant praise. Life-affirming praise. Joyful Praise.

Sure. I have seen my share of people going overboard. I have lamented and railed against overly syrupy and sappy sounding praise (God, I just, wanna praise you and I love you and I don’t wanna think about anyone but you God – because I just, wanna praise you and I love you . . . . ) My stomach turns at the “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs and prayers and speeches.

But I gotta admit – I love an electric, exuberant, life-affirming, joyful time of praising God. I love music I can clap and dance to. I love preaching that makes me want to shout “Amen!” I love genuine, uplifting witness of someone telling their story and talking about their faith journey. I love to leave a time of worship moved to tears or challenged to do something or left with so much to think about.

I love being in a place where I have to tell someone what’s going on inside of me. I love being in a place where I am filled with hope about what God’s doing in the world.

I know I’m not always there. I know that none of us are always there. I know that some of us are never there.

But today I would like all of us to be open to letting God infect us with electricity, exuberance, life affirmation, and joy. Let’s all open our Bibles and read another psalm together. It’s one of joyful praise. It’s one that we can shout. It’s one that we can praise God with as we expect God to be present as we continue praising.

(Psalm 150 NRSV) Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament! {2} Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness! {3} Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! {4} Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! {5} Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! {6} Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

May you be filled with electricity, exuberance, life affirmation, and joy. May you be filled with God’s love now and forevermore. May you share all of that with everyone you meet.

Let’s wake the neighbors.

Amen.

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