“Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength” (Psalm 29:1). The opening words of Psalm 29—one of our evening readings for today––are a call to worship pronounced within the realms of heaven, an invitation to praise and glorify the name of the living God. But it may seem odd that right after this call to worship we read of a storm moving off of the Mediterranean Sea and crashing violently inland, a storm that breaks cedars and oaks, shakes the wilderness and strips the forest bare. It flashes with lightening like fire, and makes the mountains and hills skip like calves. It is a terrible display of the force of nature.
But does this storm, as terrible and awesome as it is, deserve a call to worship? Isn’t that a little like playing a prelude before an earthquake, taking up an offering during a tornado, or pronouncing a benediction after a hurricane? How is this at all appropriate? One answer comes when we reflect on God’s presence in all the circumstances of life, the ordinary and simple as well as the mighty and terrible. God is not confined to buildings made for prayer; God is both transcendent and imminent, both above creation and at work within it and we should be willing to worship and to praise God when and where we encounter the divine presence. We should be in a constant posture of worship and praise for the Creator because at all times God is our hope, our refuge. When our lives becomes difficult God remains steadfast.
So a call to worship before a storm, a call to praise God in the midst of crisis and chaos, glorying God in joy as well as grief, are all appropriate because all of life belongs to God.
Prayer: Lord God, we praise you in the quiet moments of life when things are good, but also in the moments of distress when we are rocked by storms. Hear our prayers. In Jesus’ name. Amen.