|Psalm 146 Lauda, anima mea|
Praise the LORD, O my soul! *
I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
2 Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, *
for there is no help in them.
3 When they breathe their last, they return to earth, *
and in that day their thoughts perish.
4 Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! *
whose hope is in the LORD their God;
5 Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; *
who keeps his promise for ever
"Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help!
whose hope is in the LORD their God."
As often as we may read the scriptures, pray, and go to church, it can become easy to place our hope in earthly things. Of course, this is quite natural, because earthy things are all around us, the government, the corporation that helps to bring power to my house, the trees which offer me shade, the birds that sing outside my window, the people who built my car to keep my family safe as we drive the highways and byways. We are surrounded by earthly things, and we rely on them, we trust them, we even may say that we have "faith" in them.
However, earthly things do fail, and then we are left with the sense (perhaps) of our hope being rattled and shaken. The world is full of beautiful things, and yet, we are all too aware of the ways that rulers, nations, corporations, and even nature can cause suffering and be deadly.
The psalm this morning offers another way of thinking. The psalm offers a song of praise for the Lord, and reminds us as we pray it that the Lord made heaven and earth and if we truly want heavenly happiness, we are to place our hope in God. For someone who's world is jammed full with the things of the world, this may sound insane - "I can't see God," "I can't sense God," "How can I put my hope in God?" However, offering praise for God, and entering into a place where we can experience the Glory of God will, indeed, embolden our hopefulness, and will offer us true happiness.
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey