We are all familiar with the words of the “Doxology”:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host: Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost! Amen!
The word, “Doxology” comes from two Greek words – doxa, meaning “glory”, and logia, meaning “saying”, or “speaking”. In this hymn we sing praise to our triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Isaiah chapter 6 we hear of the call of Isaiah to be a prophet. He’s caught up into the throne room of heaven and witnesses the glory of Yahweh: “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple…And one (seraphim) called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the [Yahweh] of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” When we sing the doxology we join with the angels in heaven, and with the creation itself in glorifying God, our creator and redeemer.
God alone, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (notice the three “holies” above), is worthy of praise. Our sinful flesh would like to elevate ourselves. We would like to be seen by others as “high and lifted up”. We cringe when we do something that lowers us in others’ eyes. We walk tall and proud when we hear the praise of others for some good thing that we’ve done. Then God’s Word comes to us and says, “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more” (Psalm 103). The Law cuts to our marrow saying, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Although in our sinful flesh we would seek our own glory, like Adam and Eve in the garden, still, God loves us. In fact, each of the above passages goes on to speak of that love. Psalm 103 says that man is here today and gone tomorrow, “But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him!” Romans 3:23 tells us that all mankind has sinned and fallen short, but that we are “Justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus!” Romans 6:23 makes clear that “The wages of sin is death,” then finishes by saying, “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
Isaiah saw the glory of God and said “Woe is me! For I am lost!” God, in his justice, demands the payment for sin. And God, in his wonderful love for us, makes the payment for that sin himself, with the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. We look at the cross and see Jesus hanging there, suffering for our sins, bearing our punishment, appeasing God’s wrath, and we say, “What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul?” No wonder the Psalms are full of calls to worship God and praise his holy name!
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised! (Psalm 145)
This month we will be vacating our current sanctuary. Our sister congregation, Christ Lutheran (2695 S. Franklin St., Denver), has graciously offered the use of their building as a temporary home for our congregation. We thank God that his Church is not a building, but a people. We are called out of the world to gather together as the body of Christ to give God our thanks and praise, to grow daily in our faith, and to spread the good news of his wondrous love for sinners.
It is fitting that the final Psalm of the Bible is a call to praise:
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
As we go forward, we go in the name of the Lord of hosts, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We go where he leads, we walk the paths that he lays out for us, and we go with his praise on our lips.