The thing I love about this psalm is that it tells so many different things to praise the Lord – and most of them don’t have mouths!
So, if Praising God is not (just) about singing, what else could it be? The sun praises God by being sunny, the rain praises God by being rainy. Let’s rejoice in the breadth of worship with all creation. Here are some ideas – add your own, then do a few!
- Praise him, all you angels, you armies of heaven
How about an angel assault course? (Remember that angels are not pretty girls in white dresses!)
- Praise him, sun and moon. Praise him, all you shining stars.
Do some star-gazing
- Praise him, highest heavens and you waters above the sky.
Dance in the rain
- Praise him, you large sea animals and all the oceans.
Make fish and jelly fish, and squids and whales, or visit an aquarium
- Praise him, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, and stormy winds that obey him.
Snowball fight! Or fly a kite (but not in lightning!)
- Praise him, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedar trees.
Take a walk on the wild side – what kinds of trees can you find?
- Praise him, you wild animals and all cattle, small crawling animals and birds.
Visit a farm or a petting zoo, or just look under some stones and see what’s there, busy praising God
- Praise him, you kings of the earth and all nations, princes and all rulers of the earth.
It can be easy to be cynical about leaders, but why not write to your local MPs / councillors / head teachers / bosses asking how you can pray for them? You never know, they might even reply!
- Praise him, you young men and women, old people and children.
Now it’s our turn. How will I praise God with my life?
Yes, I know it’s a Advent hymn, but I love how ‘Hills of the North, Rejoice’ includes everyone, from everywhere, in the gathering family. Look at the gathering masses in this picture – tall, short, young, old, running, hobbling, eager, nervous, with mustard-seed faith or rivalling JCB for mountain-moving potential.
Psalm 148 has not just all people, but all creatures and all plants and all the company of heaven joining in. It’s a massive party and everyone is invited!
Perhaps you’re a party animal and you’re thinking “Great! Another party! Let me in!”
Perhaps, like me, you’re a bit tinseled-out and thinking “Oh no! Not another party! Can’t I just stay home?” Good News! The answer is Yes, to both questions.
Because this is not a ‘put the plastic smile on your face and make polite chit-chat with people you hardly know’ kind of party. This is your Welcome Home.
It really doesn’t matter where we are from, hills of the North, or shores of the utmost West, as we draw near to Christ, we are journeying to our home with Jesus, and in him we all find rest.
Psalm 148 International Children’s Bible
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens.
Praise him high above the earth.
Praise him, all you angels.
Praise him, all you armies of heaven.
Praise him, sun and moon.
Praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, highest heavens
and you waters above the sky.
Let them praise the Lord
because they were created by his command.
He set them in place forever and ever.
He made a law that will never end.
Praise the Lord from the earth.
Praise him, you large sea animals and all the oceans.
Praise him, lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
and stormy winds that obey him.
Praise him, mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedar trees.
Praise him, you wild animals and all cattle,
small crawling animals and birds.
Praise him, you kings of the earth and all nations,
princes and all rulers of the earth.
Praise him, you young men and women,
old people and children.
Praise the Lord.
He alone is great.
He is greater than heaven and earth.
God has given his people a king.
He should be praised by all who belong to him.
He should be praised by the Israelites, the people closest to his heart.
Praise the Lord!
Hills of the North, Rejoice!
Hills of the North, rejoice,
river and mountain-spring,
hark to the advent voice;
valley and lowland, sing.
Christ comes in righteousness and love,
he brings salvation from above.
Isles of the Southern seas,
sing to the listening earth,
carry on every breeze
hope of a world’s new birth:
In Christ shall all be made anew,
his word is sure, his promise true.
Lands of the East, arise,
he is your brightest morn,
greet him with joyous eyes,
praise shall his path adorn:
your seers have longed to know their Lord;
to you he comes, the final word.
Shores of the utmost West,
lands of the setting sun,
welcome the heavenly guest
in whom the dawn has come:
he brings a never-ending light
who triumphed o’er our darkest night.
Shout, as you journey home,
songs be in every mouth,
lo, from the North they come,
from East and West and South:
in Jesus all shall find their rest,
in him the universe be blest.
International Children’s Bible
The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.
Hills of the North Rejoice: Words – C E Oakley and the editors of the New English Hymnal
Artwork – Ally Barrett