Monday, November 07, 2005

all you peoples!

Extol ghaH, Hoch SoH ghotpu'!
Extol him, all you peoples! Psalm 117:1c

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Forty-two years ago I had traveled around the sun as many times as there were planets: nine. Today, I'd need to live another century to be able to say that. By the time I managed to DO that, (if I could) well, as more telescopes and more observers turn their gaze outward, I expect I'd have to add a millenium or two to keep up.

We live in an unprecedented age of exploration. Besides the 150-plus worlds now known to be circling other stars, we are learning and mapping more about the ones in our own back yard - and there's more than nine! With Sedna, Quoar and Xena we've discovering in what a fascinating neighborhood God has put our little planet.

Looking out into this bustling cosmos, Dava Sobel writes:
Sometimes the stupefying view into deep space can send me burrowing like a small animal into the warm safety of Earth's nest. But just as often I feel the Universe pull me by the heart, offering, in all its other Earths elsewhere, some larger community to belong to.
(Dava Sobel, The Planets)

Extol ghaH, Hoch SoH ghotpu'!
Extol him, all you peoples! Psalm 117:1c

No, the author of Psalm 117 did not know about the worlds of our solar system, nor the worlds beyond. Extol him, all you peoples! Psalm 117:1c But this writer did know about "worlds" of cultures and nations. We've heard the command to all nations to praise God, and here we hear "all you peoples" to extol him.

Extol. Not a common word - in English or Hebrew. The KLV generally only translates frequent words - and "extol" is only used eight times in the WEB. In Hebrew the word here is shabach: to address in a loud tone, and shows up eleven times in the Bible. In the KJV it is translated as commend, glory, keep in, praise, still, triumph. Taking the meaning as "to commend," we might say this in Klingon with "quvmoH," cause to be honored: quvmoH ghaH, Hoch SoH ghotpu' to express this idea to, literally, give a shout-out to the LORD!

The psalmist probably didn't have access to "all you peoples" - any more than we can reach every world that we know about with the good news of God's love. The scope of the universe is so great - there are so many worlds, so many stars, so many people - just on this one planet - that we may feel there is no way we can begin.

Mother Teresa said: We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

As much as you can, call out today, SHOUT out today, in joy, in praise, to the LORD. Against the billions on this earth, against the vastness of the Universe and all its countless stars and worlds, this might not seem like much. But it is a start. Let creation, and the creator pull you out into his larger community of praise, to love, to sing and to give thanks!

quvmoH ghaH, Hoch SoH ghotpu'
Extol him, all you peoples! Psalm 117:1c

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