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The Art of Praising God

Posted on 15 Dec 2019

December 15, 2019

Luke 1:46-55

Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman


Music is an art form we experience almost every day, and because we are surrounded by music, sometimes we take it for granted. Paintings, sculpture, quilts and crafts – we look at them, marvel at the creativity, at the talent of the creator, and think “art”.

When I’m singing along to “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”, or “Silent Night”, or even “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” I’m just enjoying the music though and not thinking about the artistry of the lyrics or how amazing it is that this composer created a series of notes that would stay in my mind and in my heart.

Music is an art, and music is a way we praise God. From the ancient Psalms, the hymnbook of the Israelites, to familiar Christmas carols to modern praise music, people of faith have long used music as a way to express our love of God.

Music was how Mary expressed her love of God. Mary’s Magnificat, which is the Latin word for magnify, was how Mary shared that she was “bursting with God-news;… dancing the song of my Savior God.” (Luke 1:46, The Message)

And not only did Mary sing about God’s good news for her, she sang about God’s good news for all people; she sang about God’s kingdom, God’s kin-dom, a place where the bluffing braggarts are scattered, the tyrants are knocked off their high horses, the callous rich are left out in the cold, the starving poor sit down to a banquet, and the low, the outcast, the forgotten are lifted up. Mary’s joy in what God is doing for her and for all people is so great that she just cannot help singing.

Do you ever feel that way? That your joy in what God is doing for you, for all people, is so great that you think “how can I keep from singing?” (My Life Flows On, #619, Chalice Hymnal) Well, here is your chance!

This morning, we are going to sing, and I don’t mean just the hymns in the bulletin. Out of love of God, we are going to create our own hymns of praise and sing them.

Judging by Monday morning Bible study’s reaction, I imagined I would need to remind you to take three deep, slow breaths.

Seriously, take three deep breaths so you can get out of your reptilian brain and hear the rest. (Pause) Maybe take 3 more to help get you into your creative brain.

We are going to do this in groups, each with a prepared facilitator who has been thinking about this all week and is ready to help your small group create a song, an Advent verse to a familiar Christmas carol, a poem, or just have a really wonderful discussion about words we use to show our love of God.

That is the primary purpose of this activity, to be inspired by Mary and praise God.


When your small group is gathered, together you will brainstorm a list of words and phrases you think of when it comes to God and the good news of God’s unconditional love we know through Jesus Christ. When you think of the Hope of the World, the Prince of Peace, Love Incarnate, our Messiah, and Savior, what do you think of? Feel free to use any or all of those words.

Next, when you have a good list of words and phrases to praise God, then you are going to pick a familiar tune: think “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, the theme to the Brady Brunch and create new words for it that praise God.

And then, because we are a welcoming, nurturing, non-judgmental community of Christian love, I am going to invite your group to sing your song. Did you hear the word “invite”? If you or your group is not comfortable singing, then just do not sing.

Again, the primary purpose is to give voice in words or song to our love of God and if that happens in your small group, that is enough.

To the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

Love, praise, peace, and joy

Forgiveness friendship goodness

We are thankful for God

Peace and joy are with us.

To the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star:

Twinkle, twinkle, follow the star

even though you may be far.

Guide us with your perfect light.

We will follow you through the night.

Twinkle, twinkle, follow the star

even though you may be far.

To the tune of Joy to the World:

Joy to the world, the Lord will come

Let earth receive her king.

Let every man and woman

feel hope, peace, love, and joy.

We wait for him to come,

We wait for him to come,

to fill our hearts with love and joy.