Scripture Reading: Psalm 146:1-10
Everything I need to know about earthly adoration, I learned from my middle school musical theater class. First, we learned through experience. What else is a brace-faced preteen supposed to feel upon receiving a standing ovation for her impeccably off-key version of Oliver! The Musical’s “Food Glorious Food”? For all I knew, applause and attention meant the same thing as adoration.
Then, we learned from the music. One of the delightfully cheesy and romantic tunes that stands out the most is Aretha Franklin’s “I Say A Little Prayer,” which is also included on the soundtrack for the film My Best Friend’s Wedding, starring a young Julia Roberts. Perhaps you remember the chorus:
Forever, forever, you’ll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever and ever, we never will part
Oh, how I’ll love you
Together, together, that’s how it must be
To live without you
Would only be a heartbreak for me.
These were lyrics that made even prepubescent girls swoon. During rehearsals, we’d stand squished on the risers, divided into altos and sopranos, as our choral director clapped the rhythms and contorted his face into exaggerated expressions, commanding us to annunciate! “FOR-EV-ER, FOR-EV-ER,” he would chant.
It’s no coincidence that this is what we long for. We want the affection we receive to be sure, and the praise we give to remain warranted—not just one-time applause. Commitment and adoration go hand in hand, and with God, we get both.
Here is where the romantic comedy cliches and the middle school dramatics stop. Adoration is not intended to be a general concept that God calls for early on and then forgets about. Rather, adoration is something we see carried throughout the psalms as a rhythmic refrain to God’s presence and nearness to us. Psalm 146 recalls reasons for adoring God: He frees prisoners, opens the eyes of the blind, raises up the oppressed, loves the righteous, and protects resident aliens.
Adoration is the response we give to our God who is good and faithful in all things. It is the deep abiding love that only comes from the safety of a covenant made by a promise-keeping God who loves His children. It is His reason for choosing us, and our reason for returning to Him. He wants to adore us as His own for eternity, and because of that, we get to return and enjoy His love forever.
God remains faithful forever. (FOR-EV-ER!) His kingdom and promises and love for us will stand firm into eternity. May we learn to love and adore Him in return.