This Alaskan Psalm was created by Andy, Melissa, Carol, Frank and Sarah. It was written in the style of Psalm 140. Enjoy.
Praise the Lord
The mountains praise you
Your creation is just a glimpse of Your majesty
We have only a taste of the buffet of your glory
Great is the Lord.
Before the mountains existed
Before the Kenai ran turquoise
All this was in your mind
The complex harmony
Unseen in your thoughts alone.
Seward lies at the height of Resurrection
Surrounded by ice and rock
Sea otters cradle their young
Floating on the mattress of their own bellies.
Killer whales remind us of your ferocity
As we gaze with fear and awe.
Sea lions cling to the island stone
Showing us how we must stand on our Rock.
The salmon are your bounty
That You have provided for Your children.
Silver and swift
They dwell in the deep
As the ocean waves pass over,
The dark teems below.
The heavens are full of your creatures,
Puffins and bald eagles and seagulls
Bridging the gap between the waters above and below.
Cooper Landing sings your praise.
The mighty bears look to you
To give them their salmon at the Run,
Fireweed shouts your beauty
As the bees drink Your nectar.
You sustain the moose
And shroud it in the cover of your forests.
The pines reach up toward you
And the falls tumble down.
Mountains rise up in grandeur
And valleys bow down in submission to You.
I want to flee to the North
When the earth quakes and the mountains tremble
Where the cold holds us at bay,
Your creation is safer
And the animals play.
Even though much is extinct
and the rest is in decay
still the immeasurable beauty of it all
takes my breath away.
Man has brought the curse
Upon your good world
How then can we stand
And still give you praise?
You use creation both good and broken
To draw us back to you in wonder.
This was your wise plan
That in your great mercy
You did not utterly wash us away
For our iniquity and pride.
Though justice was on your side
You absorbed it all in our place
Your mountains and rivers of wrath
Fell on Him instead.
Therefore we praise You!
Creator of glaciers and eagles
For You have brought forth all this
Even more, You have washed us of our stains
To make us as white as snow-capped mountains
Praise the Lord!
Let all Alaska praise Your Name!
Read Psalm 131 here
This is a short but powerful and beautiful psalm. There is a sense of a somber and deeply reflective heart. It is a prayer of humility and trust in God. The psalmist has “Calmed and quieted his/her soul” and simply comes to God with perhaps a heavy heart and, one that desires to rest and trust in God.
Have you ever had those moments? Maybe you have had those times when life is hard to describe but you know that your heart is carrying much, and you desire to simply come and be with God? Not many words are said here, but the psalmist is quieting and stilling his/her soul to simply be in the presence of God.
Don’t miss the words, “I am content.” What does it take to be content? Sometimes we are so busy in the midst of our own troubles or in the pursuit of “happiness” that we can miss the quiet, calm contentment that God brings into our lives.
At the end is a plea for the community to have hope in God. I love that. We live in a world that is in desperate need of hope. Many times in our own lives we can feel a sense of hopelessness. Yet, the psalmist becomes still and reverent in the presence of God and invites us into a hope “From this time and forevermore” that can only come from God. May we still our selves before God and believe in this amazing hope offered by putting our trust in God.
Read Psalm 130 here
In today’s psalm we begin to see a different shift in the psalmist’s prayers. We see deep emotion and a deep cry for God’s mercy and listening ear. These types of psalms, called psalms of lament, are some of my favorites because they give us permission to be real with God.
We are able to come to God with our questions, fears, angers, and deep heart-felt emotions. Even in the midst of the psalmist’s crying out, there is still a rooted belief that God is good, God is loving, and that God has the power to redeem! It’s an acknowledging that even in uncertain times, we can believe that God is at work and that God listens to us and meets us with forgiveness and strength. God is faithful!
Today be real in your prayers between you and God. If you are grateful and joyfilled then praise God in that. If you are sorrowful, hurting, or struggling express that to God from your heart. The psalms give us permission to come to God in the fullness of where we are in life: in joy and in pain, in assurance and in questioning. God is a big God and can handle our deep emotions. If the psalmist can be real with God, then what is stopping us from being real as well?
Read Psalm 126 here in the New Living Translation
This is a powerful psalm of praise and renewal of life. It was written to celebrate the return of the Hebrew people from exile in Babylon. This event was a dream come true. They couldn’t believe the good news that they could return home to Jerusalem. They were so happy that they were singing and shouting for joy. Most importantly, they gave all the credit and glory to God.
How many times in our lives has the amazing thing that we dreamed about come true? This could be a wedding, a good job, a baby, a good grade, a new friend, whatever seemed to be the impossible. Did we shout for joy? Did we dance? Did we give the credit and glory to God?
This was true renewal of life itself. The writer tries to describe this renewal as best as possible. Then the writer begs for more. Lord, now restore our fortunes like a stream flowing and giving life in the desert.
We are reminded that the people of God live “by both memory and hope.”(Clinton McCann’s words) Even if you are in a time of tears now, new possibilities await. God is the author of all good things. You might be planting in tears now, but the harvest will come. Be patient and continue to make your request to God in faith that through God, all things are possible.
“ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Read Psalm 125 here
The psalms we are currently reading continue to be psalms of ascent, psalms that were sung as the pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem. It is no wonder that the pilgrims sang of Mount Zion, as that was, at the time, synonymous with the Temple. The Temple of course was the Holy place, and the Israelites understood that God was in residence in the temple. The temple housed the Ark of The Covenant, which was the most holy relic for the Israelites. It was often said that the Ark of The Covenant was the footstool of God. So, it is no wonder that the people sang of what they were about to see as they approached Jerusalem; they spoke of the places they were going to see in relation to their God. (Note, they would not have seen the Arc itself, as that was in the most holy place within the temple.)
Notice that the closing statement is, “Peace be upon Israel”. This is no ordinary peace, this is the Shalom that is full wholeness–completeness for all people and all lands. The Hebrew word is Shalom, and this Shalom refers to the final reign of God. This is the Shalom that existed in the Garden of Eden prior to what we call The Fall, when human disobedience ushered in Sin which destroyed the Shalom.
Christians see this ultimate Shalom in the fulfillment of the second coming of Jesus. Jesus’ ministry brought in the beginning of the Kingdom of God, the spark that was the beginning of what will come. Ultimately Jesus is the one that offers peace to all followers (See John 20.) Christians understand that the final peace will come when Jesus comes again and a new heaven and earth will be ushered in where the “lion and the lamb” will lie down one with another.
May peace reign in your home, in your land, and in your hearts.