Creator of Stars
June/Training for Mission
7 June 2010
At the same time that the stars, the lights of the ether were made, the angels all praised the Lord, the Maker of heavenly things...out of love and free will, not simply from inborn nature.
- Columcille, Altus Prosator (Irish, 6th century)
Give thanks to the Lord of lords...to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever.
- Psalm 136.3, 7
I recall once asking a men's group why we should praise the Lord. There was a long silence, then one man spoke up, "Well, I praise the Lord," he said rather meekly, "for all the kind and loving things He does for me each day." "But what if He never did anything kind and loving for you? Would He still be worthy of your praise?" Hmmm.
The angels praised the Lord because they saw in Him the perfection of beauty, power, wisdom, and steadfast love, in the face of which they simply could not keep silent. It's interesting to note that, in Columcille's understanding, the creation of the spiritual realm was all completed before the first material creatures were called into existence. The Scriptures do not mention the creation of the angels, except, perhaps in the broad-brush reference to the "hosts" God created during this period (Gen. 2.1).
He Who created the stars, which caused all ancient peoples to wonder and fear, and He Whom the angels praised out of a free will, is certainly worthy of the praise and devotion of those men Columcille was preparing for mission. He mentions in this stanza that the angels sang their praise to God; this is one reason poetry and singing were so important to Celtic Christians: they felt that proper praise should be artfully given with the whole mind, heart, and body. Music and poetry made this possible.
The Creator of the stars is worthy of our praise, not because of what He does for us, but because of Who He is. And the more we draw close to Him, day by day, and come to know Him as He is, the more we, like the angels, will find ourselves living in praise of Him. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people, as even the suffering Savior knew (Ps. 22.3). Let us therefore praise Him with angels, praise Him with poetry and song.
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