Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 118:26-29 NLT
These final verses of Psalm 118 sound like praises to God. God's messenger is blessed. God is compared to a great light shining down on those who follow God. The sacrifice is prepared on the altar. God is claimed and praised. God is thanked because God is good. God is exalted because God's faithful love goes on forever.
Sometimes we have a hard time praising God. Sure, we may find it easier to thank God, but we don't often praise God. Praising God does involve gratitude but it is a thankfulness that is more general than particular. And we don't have a sacrifice of praise to bind to the altar.
Or do we?
Imagine approaching the altar at the place where you worship. There is something in your hands or you are cradling something in your arms. Is it heavy or light? Do you positively anticipate giving it to God as a sacrifice or do you dread it? Is this something you will miss? What do you imagine that it is?
YOu are going to give this as a sacrifice in order to praise God. That means you will be giving it to God for God's pleasure. This may mean you are giving it up or taking it on. Either way, you will be doing this for God.
How do you feel? Do you think God will be pleased in any way? Give God the praise and the glory!
God, we can do nothing to pay for what Jesus has done for us. However, we do want to give you this, our sacrifice of praise. Please accept our gift in the spirit with which it is given. We praise you and give you thanks. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Amelia G. Sims