Praise the Lord! Sing a new song of Praise for the Glory of all the work that Love has done!

Fall is a wonderous time of year! Time to dwell in the abundance and celebrate the fruits of all our labor that has come to pass over the year so far. The temperature is cooling, and the calendar is turning, and when we look at the Great Round, or the calendar of Mother Nature, we see that it is a time now of harvesting and gathering. The work of Spring is planting what we want. The work of summer is growing and nurturing and watering those plants. The work of Fall is picking the fruit and giving thanks for the abundance. A joyful time to sample and enjoy the many gifts of God, the gathering and storing of food for the future and also “seeding” the crop. That means separating the seeds from the fruit, holding onto the seeds to plant in the Spring and canning the fruit to get us through the Winter. With that work comes much discerning. What grew well? What was abundant? What grew OK but seemed to have limits and what turned out to be just weeds, things that were really unproductive and actually got in the way of other things growing properly? This discerning should flow naturally in this season making it a great time to start new projects or begin new fall classes. It’s a great time to look for new opportunities at work or new ways to get involved in your church life. So many options, so many ways to fit your gifts into service. So, in the work of the church, we use this time to discern what committees we might join next year and raise funds for next year’s budget in the Energy and Enthusiasm of Fall abundance.

That’s why I love that Sunday’s, September 10, lectionary includes Psalm 149. It is one of my favorites because it is so full of praise. It is at the very end of Psalms, it is the next to last one, so it is shouting praise and giving thanks one last time! Recognizing the Glory of God and also celebrating our role in God’s creation! The Psalm calls us to take up our sword and cutaway leadership that glorifies power over loving connection and any idle desire that creates separation or discourages heavenly cooperation between all people. I love how it begins – urging us to be a congregation of Saints, after all a Saint is, Webster definition here, “Any person acknowledged as holy or virtuous.” It doesn’t say that Saints always succeed. No one embodies perfection here on the earth plane, but as a congregation we are trying, together, to be a body of people who act virtuously and try to create a place that feels holy here at CUCC.

So, with that in mind, this is my interpretation of Psalm 149 – I have changed a few words to reflect what I believe is a more modern and inclusive language. I have eliminated all the male pronouns for God. I have also changed the word heathen to temptation because a heathen is a word used for someone who gives into temptation. And I changed punishment to guidance because we try to use punishment to guide people who are misbehaving. If you steal, we will punish you to guide your behavior back to socially acceptable limits. I also added the word “original” in front of judgment. Whenever the scripture refers to judgment, I go back to Genesis 1:10, “God saw that it was good.” That is the original judgment, and everything flows from that love and approval. I believe that it is always true that God takes delight in us. It’s with that understanding that I embrace this Psalm. Why I revel in the words of music and dancing and standing on our beds like little kids shouting Glory to God’s creation. Loving God with all our hearts and knowing we are loved by God always and forever, Amen.

So here is Psalm 149 through the interpretation of Deacon Bill. God be Praised!

Praise ye the Lord!
Sing unto the Lord a new song of praise in the congregation of Saints.
Let Israel rejoice in God that made the;
let the children of Zion be joyful in their Creator.
Let them praise God’s name and dance;
let them sing praises unto God with the timbrel and harp.
For the Lord taketh pleasure in all God’s people;
and will beautify the meek with salvation.
Let the Saints be joyful in Glory; let them sing loud upon their beds!
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and the two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon temptation and guidance upon the people.
To bind their false leaders with chains and their idols with fetters of iron;
To execute upon them the original judgment written;
this honor glorifies all the Saints who dwell in the love of God!
Praise ye the Lord!”

It is good!