Let the Sea Roar...
And how does creation praise God? Well, the Israelites praised with song and music (much like we do in our worship today). But not just the Israelites -- the sea, and all of the creatures of the sea and earth were to make joyful noise to the Lord (really interesting, since in the ancient world water was seen as the boundary line for civilization. The waters symbolized chaos, and in the creation stories, God orders creation out of the chaos that existed before. I don't know whether this understanding of water as chaos still resonated in the 6th century BCE, but it is powerful to think that all of creation, even the unmanageable parts, were to praise God).
What is most profound for me is that the difference in how the different parts of creation praise God. The psalmist calls the Israelites to "break forth in joyous song and sing praises" with the lyre, melody, trumpets, and horns (4-6). The earth is called to praise with its very being. The sea roars because that's what the sea does. Anyone who's experienced floods know that the waters do 'clap'. And for those of us who have spent time in the foothills of the Appalacians or the Hill Country of central Texas, we have heard the hills can't help but 'sing' when the wind whistles through the trees.
We think of singing, praising, playing music as voluntary -- it's something we do when we choose to do it. The earth lacks that sense of volition -- its 'joyful noise' is its inherent response to having been created. The sea, the earth, and all that's in it can do nothing else. Sure, the sea can be calm, floodwaters recede to a light 'lapping' at the shore line, and the hills can sit quiet in an eiry silence. But always, again, comes the roar. Without will, without choice, without thought.
I wonder how our praise would be different if it became simply a part of our being, as opposed to something we express out of a recognition of our gratitude. This praise doesn't have to be directed to a god many of us don't know -- it could be praise to the union we do know with the rest of existence. Praise for the union many of us forget in our busy, urban, disconnected lives.
How would we be different if our praise weren't us saying "thanks. I appreciate that!" but "this is me. I can't do anything else"? What would our roaring sound like? What is the response we can't help but to make in recognition of our gift and responsibility of union with each other?