Wednesday of Easter II – Psalm 148

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
    stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
    old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his saints,
    for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!

The story is told and bears retelling of an incident which transpired about 100 years ago. In the Soviet Union the powerful Minister of Education, Anatoly Lunacharsky, convened a large gathering of people into a great hall in Moscow. For over an hour he railed against the evils of religion. Held captive in the hall by their fear of what would happen to them if they did not attend, the people listened to what he said. At the end he challenged anyone to disagree with him.

A frail and solitary figure stood up and approached the stage. It was an elderly Russian Orthodox priest with his long beard and black robe. He approached the microphone under the glower of Lunacharsky. He leaned into the microphone and simply said, “He is Risen.” With one voice the assembly responded with “He is risen, indeed, Alleluia!”

The first and last words of this Psalm in Hebrew are “Hallelujah” or as we usually write it Alleluia. David sang those same syllables some three thousand years ago. They have echoed out in the communities of God’s people ever since. They will never cease. Jesus tells us the Church will never pass away until He returns and then a great “Alleluia!” will usher in His righteous kingdom on the last day. This week as you greet your fellow Christians, keep saying, “He is risen!” Respond with “He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!” Join angels and celestial objects, join forces of nature and great sea creatures, join people of every time and place, and join all creation in praising this Lord who has conquered sin, death, and devil for us.

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