"Our perspective matters," Pastor Seth emphasized as he opened this week's sermon titled "Upon Our Praises." He reminded us that life isn't primarily about us but about God, and the story we're living is about being part of something greater with God at the center.
Pastor Seth shared a story that vividly conveyed the importance of perspective. He recounted the story of an art critic, Robert Cumming, who once criticized a Renaissance painting by Filippino Lippi for its perceived poor perspective. However, Cumming had a revelation that the problem might lie in his own perspective, not the painting itself. He realized the artwork was intended for a place of prayer and worship. Kneeling before it, he beheld its true beauty. To grasp the full details of this story, you need to listen to the sermon. It’s so good.
In today's world, the culture of critique often prevails, and can stifle hope and faith. We examined the sharp contrast between the posture of a critic, which centers on the self, and the posture of praise, which focuses on honoring and adoring God. And we want to be a people of worship, approaching life with God not as a bunch of critics standing on the outside, but as a bunch of worshippers, kneeling before King Jesus. Praise is an incredibly important part of our worship. It is the gateway, and the very entrance to the Presence of God.
Pastor Seth unpacked three Hebrew words commonly used for praise in this sermon teaching. There are actually 7 Hebrew words for praise, and next Sunday, we’ll dive into the rest. Here are the 3 Hebrew words for Praise that we learned:
Yâdâh: Revere with Extended Hands Yadah involves revering and worshiping God with extended hands. To hold out the hands. It's a call to enter God's presence with open and adoring hearts, encouraging physical expression in worship. You may be surprised to see how your heart shifts simply by the way you posture your physical body.
Zâmar: Celebrate with Music Zamar calls us to make music. To celebrate in song and music. Music is the universal language. It’s expressive and in many ways, transcends what speech cannot always capture. It ushers in something that was not already there and has the power to transform an entire environment, and even transform our own hearts.
Halal: Boast and Celebrate Exuberantly Halal invites us to boast, to rave, to shine, and to celebrate with exuberance, even to the point of being clamorously foolish. Being foolish in the way we are talking about it here, requires a high level of vulnerability and trust. We only let down and let go in front of those that we can trust… and God is trustworthy! He wants our authentic and full selves.
God is as diverse as the world He created. He invites us into encountering him through all forms of praise and with our full selves. The end game is: His Presence. And the pathway to entering into His Presence as scripture says is through thanksgiving, rejoicing and praising.