1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
9 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!
I read an article by an emergency room physician in Chicago during the early days of the pandemic. She spoke of one of the earliest COVID patients at her hospital, a man she called Patient C. As they worked to save his life and as his respiration was failing, they made the decision to intubate him with a respirator. Patient C. was a kind man who turned to the doctor and said, “I am in your hands, I trust your decision. If this is what you think is best, let’s do this.” Being intubated this way requires that the patient be sedated. As the drugs took effect, the last thing the man saw was the physician, eyes staring over her mask. For the next 12 days the doctor labored for others and prayed for this man whom she had handed over to the ICU.
What joy when she heard that this gentle man had been extubated. He had survived. The doctor went to the step-down unit to visit, encapsulated in protective equipment, once more only her eyes showing. The man was alone, his own wife was in quarantine and unable to visit. The doctor said that her heart, which felt like it had been beating 100 bpm for the past several weeks, suddenly slowed down. Here was why she had become a doctor. He smiled in recognition, and they spoke.
It was not all sweet. This physician had seen many die. She had served for over 20 years and seen heart attacks and gunshot wounds. Now her days were overwhelmed with very sick people who might not survive. But here, sitting in a room with a man who had been a stranger to her a few weeks before, she found a place to praise God. The psalmist today runs throughout the creation, from sun, moon, and stars to kings and princes, from mountains and hills to old men and youths, from them all, including you, he calls for praise. It might be counterintuitive, but often in hard days praise comes easier. Those things which we took for granted are seen with new eyes and appreciated. Heed the psalmist today – Praise the Lord!