I picked up a cool devotional book called, Psalms for Black Lives: Reflections for the Work of Liberation, by Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes and Andrew Wilkes, and I’m going to share a passage from it today.
Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!
The concluding command of verse six, “Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!” closes the Psalter. It also points to the liturgical dimension of not only humanity but all creation, meaning all living beings—humans, animals in the wild, fish in the sea, birds of the air, insects—are called to praise the Lord. Everything that has breath is designed and even commanded to praise the Lord. The theological foundations for human rights, environmental concerns, and even the basic decency that undergirds civilization across cultures are all wrapped up in this psalm. Inhale for four seconds. Exhale for four seconds. Think about how remarkable it is to receive God’s graciously provided breath of life. Even the air in our lungs attests to God’s abundant grace. The mere fact that our chests
can expand and contract with the air that gives us life is a persistent testament to the benevolence of our Maker. Alongside this command to praise, the psalmist also makes it clear that instruments should be used to praise the Lord. Verses 2-5 call on the tambourine, the harp, the trumpet, and many more to sound notes of praise and adoration to the Source of Life, the Source of a Healed Existence—the Author of our Salvation, the Lord. In the spirit of this psalm, may our lives, may our breath, be an instrument of praise and worship offered to a God whose loving-kindness surrounds us, supports us, covers us, and goes before us.
Psalm 150 implies that all of life contains an element of public worship. Our justice work—the protests, the rallies, the chants, the advocacy for legislation—all of it is included in what it means for our embodied, breathing selves to praise God. In the spirit of this psalm, take five minutes to breathe in and breathe out deeply. As you inhale, breathe in God’s love. As you exhale, focus your mind on how you can shower praise on the God whose justice and renewal will one day cover the earth as the waters fill the sea.
Buy the book here.
- Check out the authors’- pastors of a Brooklyn-based church- Youtube channel.