Praise the Lord upon the earth, ye dragons and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and vapors, wind and storm fulfilling his word!
Mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all cattle, worms and feathered fowls!
Psalm 148: 7-10
This is such a great part of Psalm 148. There are dragons, vapors, worms, and even feathered fowls! This is just one translation, of course, and other translations are somewhat less fantastical, but I love this one. Heidi and I will be singing this translation of the psalm during the extended prelude for this week's Drive-in Service.
This particular psalm is all about the extent to which God should be praised. For most of its 14 verses, the psalmist is talking about praising God, taking a few brief moments to state why, and then concluding with a final, "Praise the Lord!". Today, we read the psalms as poetry, but they were probably used as a kind of hymn book for service music sung during temple worship in ancient times. It's anyone's guess as to how this was sung when it was originally composed, but I sure hope the original Hebrew brought to mind such things as "worms" and "dragons".
I think there is something profound in this psalm. We often think of "praising the Lord" to be something that only humans can do, but this psalm is very clearly calling all of creation, even parts that aren't alive, to praise God. I mean, how can snow and vapor praise the Lord? I get the feeling that there is more to creation than we realize. When told by some pharisees to rebuke the crowd for praising him as he entered into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus himself said, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." (see Luke 19: 36-40)
If the author of this ancient psalm called on all creation to praise God, and Jesus said that the stones on the ground would cry out in praise if the people were silent, then I think it's safe to say that praising God is not just something that we human should do, but something that we should feel compelled to do. Especially now, it is very easy to feel helpless and feel like we aren't doing enough, but making a point to worship and praise God is meaningful and right. God can handle what we cannot. Give in to God, and He will show us the way forward (even for the worms).