From the rising of the sun …
to the going down of the same …
the name of the LORD is to be praised!
There are days when beams of contentment permeate the shadows and we fill with words of thanksgiving without a thought. Life-giving grace is birthed. New insights are unearthed. Reflections are written with ease. Music choices please. Pastoral care has visible effect. There is minimal discord detected in the background of community life together. We are naturally at peace.
Praise flows easily then.
But there are other days when we come up against a whole variety of challenges, when morning dawn exposes very real difficulties mounting up ahead – days we’d secretly like to stop the sun from rising in the sky to avoid what must be faced.
Praise may come with knocking knees and faltering voice. Yet, the choice to acknowledge the beauty and greatness of God at all times stimulates humble trust in us. It washes away encrusted fear clinging to our hesitant feet in the basin of relief that we belong to him, Creator of the universe who still speaks words of re-creating blessing over us wherever darkness broods about our souls.
Exalting the name of God on such days and hearing his invitation to know him deeply in our moments of weakness or trial is to remain open to his sovereign love being revealed to and through us in all things. In the holy stance of soaking up the brightness of his face throughout the day with upturned hearts, we are met in every need to seed the kingdom of heaven on earth, to receive our daily bread, to seek and extend forgiveness, to be shielded from evil, all to the praise of his power and glory.
‘Everlasting God, the God Who Watches Over Me, the LORD my Rock, the LORD Who Intimately Knows and Provides, the LORD My Shepherd, the LORD Who Heals You, the LORD of Hosts, all praise belongs to you, awesome God! Your name is above every name. Help us choose to stand in worship of you from the rising of this day’s sun to its setting … for you are in control when all is well and when all hell breaks loose around us.
Gracious God of love, you know the beginning from the end. You guide us, place garrisons of angels round about us, grant us peace that passes all understanding, give us everything we need to walk as yours in Jesus Christ. Lord, please show yourself to be the God Who Is There, the God Who Hears, to each one calling out to you. In uniquely personal ways, we ask that sunbursts of your sanctifying grace generate yet more praise to your expansive glory and goodness as we experience and tell of your faithfulness in each moment past and each one yet to come. Amen.’
Your praise may be strong and loud, or perhaps just whispered faith with failing courage filtered in … let it fall across your lips. It is the strength of his name which carries us through. In particles and waves of resurrection hope his Spirit causes psalms and hymns and spiritual praise to flow from within, both in minutes of muted fear and falling tears, and in hours of sheer delight. Let your ears hear the echo of your heart’s anchor sinking deeper into the living God whose steadfast love for you never fails, whose character and attributes are forever consistent with his name.
‘From the rising of the sun until its setting, I will bless and praise your name, O LORD.’