Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Psalm 146 begins the final crescendo of praise that takes us to the end of the psalms. Starting with this psalm, the final five each begin and end with “Hallelujah”, which means “Praise the Lord!”
Singer songwriter Leonard Cohen brought the word into modern, secular use with his well-known song, “Hallelujah”, used in the movie Shrek. Some of my favorite words from his song are:
Even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of song
with nothing on my lips but Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah, 1984)
Cohen said, “The world is full of conflicts and things that cannot be reconciled but there are moments when we can. . .embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah’.” Rolling Stone Article on L. Cohen
The poet of Psalm 146 does something similar, and something different. Like Cohen, he does not try to reconcile the conflicts he has struggled with all through the psalms. He’s not building a system of rational thought, nor creating a philosophy of life. But unlike Cohen, it is not the mess of it all he embraces, but the God of it all. He looks at the good which God has done in creation and the good he does for people who seek him. Our poet embraces God. Let’s do the same.
Our father, we say “Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.”
We have journeyed with the poet through depression and praise, through sleepless nights and hopeful days, through times when you are absent and times when you are present. We set aside conflicts we cannot reconcile, the parts of life that don’t add up.
O God, our experience of you seems random, not neatly wrapped in theology or logic. Our prayers come from within, from depths we do not understand, from a place where pain and love and hope and despair mingle in our daily chaos. We have exposed our inner self to you, our thoughts worthy and unworthy, our desires and fears. Today we turn to you. We focus on your person and your gifts.
The beauty we see in the world is a gift. You created the universe, and you saw that it was good.
The beauty we see in people is a gift. You created us, male and female, in your image, and you saw that it was good.
The beauty we see in society is a gift. You said, “It is not good for man to be alone” and you created family and community and society. We praise you because you made us to live in relationship.
The beauty we see in culture– art, technology, music, and architecture–is a gift. You created us to be creative, and you enjoy the works we create.
The beauty we see in your word is a gift. You spoke the worlds into being, and you spoke again through your son whom you love. He is our light and our life.
With the poet we say, “Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.”
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.
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