Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC

Buechner, Frederick

Harper, 1993

p. 85

We do a lot of measured praise: Good job! Big boy! Nice work! “The way the 148th Psalm describes it, praising God is another kettle of fish altogether. It is about as measured as a volcanic eruption, and there is no implication that under any conceivable circumstances it could be anything other than what it is. The whole of creation is in on the act–the sun and moon, the sea, fire and snow, Holstein cows and white-throated sparrows, old men in walkers and children who still haven’t taken their first step. Their praise is not chiefly a matter of saying anything because most of creation doesn’t deal in words. Instead the snow whirls, the fire roars, the Holstein bellows, the old man watches the moon rise. Their praise is not something that at their most complimentary they say but something that at their truest they are. We learn to praise God not by paying compliments but by paying attention. Watch how the trees exult when the wind is in them. Mark the utter stillness of the great blue heron in the swamp. Listen to the sound of the rain. Listen how to say Hallelujah from the ones who say it right.”