Awesome God (13-06-21)
Bible Readings: Luke 24:50-53, Psalm 47:1-8
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany,
he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.
He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.
He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.
God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.
God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.
The meaning of many words in the English language have evolved over time. Charity is one of them. Today it tends to mean second-hand clothing shops or fund-raising events for local good causes. At the time of the printing of the King James version of the bible, ‘charity’ was used where we now use the word ‘love’ to translate the famous passage St Paul wrote to the church in Corinth ‘Love is patient, love is kind’. A similar thing is happening to ‘awesome’.
In some ways I am happy to describe a meal that someone has prepared for me, or a child’s colouring page as ‘awesome’; it is good to give praise and encouragement where it is due. The problem comes when you need to go up a level and find a word to describe someone or something that is truly awesome. Someone awesome like God, or something awesome like all that God has done for us. Awesome, like dying in our place, awesome like rising form the dead, and awesome like ascending back to heaven, job done!
At Jesus’ ascension back into heaven, the Psalmist prophesies that he ‘ascended amidst shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.’ The shouts of joy and the sounding of trumpets presumably came from his welcome back into heaven, rather than from the disciples he left behind, but it was, never-the-less an awesome sight.
One day we will again, together, be able to ‘Sing praises to God, sing praises’; in the meantime, we sing on our own. But maybe we can also clap our hands and shout for joy for our awesome God who is the great King over all the earth.
Lord Most High, you are awesome indeed.
May I worship you with all that I have,
and may your praises again resound around your world.
Crown him with many crowns.