“The heavens are telling the glory of God.” That line is already taken.
“I will extol thee.” Hmmm. Also taken. And, even if it wasn’t, “extol” isn’t part of my vocabulary. (To be honest,”thee” isn’t, either.)
Being original with the words of praise I offer to God isn’t super important, perhaps, but isn’t there something to be said for not always wanting to be quoting someone else? Far be it from me to express anything other than appreciation and awe for any book of scripture, and least of all for the Psalms, but, as beautiful as that poetry is, I’d like to offer God praises from my own heart, not from King David’s.
Remember movies or TV shows in which someone wrote love notes to another? It seems they often quoted famous poets with or without giving credit for the lines they lifted. Adolescent Peter Brady was tongue-tied, he was so infatuated with Kerry Hathaway. He did write a love note, but he also tried having his older brother Greg cue him with flowery words because he was incapable of voicing his feelings toward the pretty, new girl.
In not praising God for any length of time in my own words could there be diagnosed a similar emotional tongue-tiedness, or is it more to the point that I have not gotten in touch lately with what my deep feelings toward the eternal Alpha and Omega actually are? Perhaps it is that for years I’ve been conditioned to use other people’s words instead of my own.
There is nothing deficient about choosing to quote scripture or hymns or popular praise songs if the words express what I feel and if I don’t happen to be quite that poetic myself. I do think it bears examining by any of us, though, if we claim to be “worshiping through” songs that tell about faith and feelings we don’t have, don’t understand, and are not very interested in.
Is there a point? Yes, at least one. Anyone who isn’t praising Yahweh frequently is missing something much more huge than we might think. Missing. Missing. Going without – and for no good reason. Often, for a lot of basically unimportant reasons.
I feel this “missing” – right now, as I write – as if it is a vitamin deficiency that has been going on for a long time and is finally causing outward symptoms. I’m looking jaundiced. I’m feeling anemic. I crave this missing nutrient as I would be thinking about chocolate halfway through Lent if I were strong enough to give up chocolate for Lent.
Now, what about the pretty, heartfelt words that prove I don’t need to quote the Psalms or Charles Wesley or Getty and Townend in order to praise? Well, they may come or they may not come. Lovesick Greg Brady (in an earlier season) lay on his bed thinking about Linda. He wasn’t sitting at the desk in the boys’ bedroom composing a poem, nor was he chanting, “Linda, you are beautiful; Linda, no one is like you.” We saw in that episode interest and affection that was untrained, spontaneous, and all-consuming. No orations. Just an infatuated teen with a stomach ache.
I want to be the one who takes to my bed sometimes because God is so wonderful that it gives me a stomach ache.