I have just completed
the Epistle to the Romans
by Karl B.
(an actual thing that happened today, that I am happy about!)
I struggle with praise, to be honest. In the scriptures, praise is often an individual or corporate response to a great work of God, but sometimes it is in response to an attribute of God. You'll find that in the psalms. When I feel like praising, it's naturally because something good has happened. It's circumstantial; rarely do I praise just because of who God is. You know why? Most of the time, I feel like Job, and am frankly surprised (actually not surprised; keep reading) that God hasn't come down in a whirlwind to give me a lesson. I sure complain enough, primarily that I cannot feel, see or hear God, or any of God's positive attributes; so why should I praise when it feels disingenuous?
My mind keeps going back to what I wrote yesterday, observing that Mary gave a song of praise in response to what Elizabeth relays to her. That had to have been the Holy Spirit on both counts; I highly doubt Mary was feeling jolly about her situation.
I saw a tweet by Karen Gonzalez this evening where she wrote:
"It's strange to think of advent as a season of hope, wonderment & longing. I'm reading Miguel de la Torre who speaks about a kind of hope that can be oppressive because change never comes, so we need practices that lead to liberation. I'm exhausted by hope."
I can relate. Hope and promise of hope can be exhausting, and it doesn't help me feel like praising.