While saying grace the other night before dinner, my son concluded with, “God, would You like me to sing You a song?” He then hummed a tune for a little bit and said, “Amen.”
Now, besides being quite cute, this got me thinking. Many parts of the Bible are devoted to praising God and singing to Him. I love God so much; I really ought to specifically praise Him more!
I do give gratitude every day, consistently, but do I ever just sing a song for God? Well, I wasn’t planning to literally make up a catchy tune. But I decided to try this concept—to just really intentionally give praise to God. Not because I think He somehow needs something from me, but just because I love God.
Psalm 148 stands out to me as an example of this simple, joyful praise for God, because every single verse pays homage to God. Here are a few lines—this is from The Message by Eugene Peterson, a contemporary translation of the Bible: “Let them praise the name of God—it’s the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky; he’s built a monument—his very own people!” (verses 13, 14 ).
I like to consider how I can just praise divine Love itself.
Another psalm that has helped me praise God, time and again, is Psalm 23 . In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy elaborates beautifully on this psalm. She explains, “In the following Psalm one word shows, though faintly, the light which Christian Science throws on the Scriptures by substituting for the corporeal sense, the incorporeal or spiritual sense of Deity:…”
Here, for example, are the first two verses:
] is my shepherd; I shall not want.
[Love ] maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
[Love ] leadeth me beside the still waters.
(pp. 577–578 )
I like to consider how I can just praise Love itself. Love is always shepherding, always guiding; even when it seems we can’t feel it, Love is there cradling us, permeating our consciousness and everything about us. A wonderful thing about simply praising God is that we don’t need to preface our praise by saying what, precisely, we’re praising Him for. Celebrating God’s goodness is what we are made to do.
To the materialistic view of things, the healing simplicity of loving God might seem too good to be true. But that view is not substantial; there’s not something “out there” that needs to be battled with. We have the God-given right to live each moment with intentional, conscious love for God. We don’t need to wait! We don’t need to try to fill up with good-sounding words or come up with healing ideas on our own. The divine Mind of all, God, is always imparting, always defining us, always causing us to reflect the nature of perfect Love; we can be willing to feel the presence of that perfect Love and express it.
We look to God to find out anything and everything that is real and true. Each moment is an opportunity for us to be obedient to the First Commandment, to honor one God. We always have the right to praise God, to accept the invitation to rest our thoughts on Him and let His mighty, perfect power show us His work—and to be guided by Him.
The twenty-third Psalm illustrates that the best thing for a sheep to do is to look to its shepherd. It’s not prudent for a sheep to wander off and find its own pasture; the sheep is a successful sheep to the degree that it follows its shepherd’s call. Why should we feel that we need to be any different?
Celebrating God’s goodness is what we are made to do.
Divine Love will never let go of you. Thankfully, God isn’t grading us or checking off the times when we turn to Him and when we don’t. God is always God—always constant, the very Principle of the universe. He doesn’t change, and He can’t be persuaded to change His already perfect view of you. The benefit in being obedient is not that it makes God more effective or more applicable to us; it’s that you are then more able to be fully and freely yourself as God’s reflection.
All our shining—all our strength and safety and satisfaction—is always and only to show how good God is. This doesn’t leave the individual out, though. Man doesn’t disappear into God. God’s infinite being requires infinite individual expression.
God is expressed. That’s our true identity and individuality! That’s you! That’s me! That’s your coworkers and family and fellow church members. This knowledge can permeate your neighborhood interactions and holiday gatherings and housing association meetings. God is God. He’s here now. Every single one of us is the expression of God, and as such, we have the delight of saying, “Alleluia!”