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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spontaneous Praise

It surfs high and powerful and light can be seen clear though ‘til lip opens and mouth froths and spills surge and roar and tongue laps shore greedily. I watch it unfold three floor down from condo balcony and ask God, “What do You have to say about this ocean?” It’s a full-of-praise kind of question marked with exclamation point, really.

I go to Him. To where our words left off mid-conversation from yesterday. It’s always mid-conversation with Him. Always will be, I expect, because His words are endlessly alive and forever living. And relative. As if He knows what we will be talking about the next day.

Well, He does know. And today I am at the beach in Florida with my family. And this morning is wild breakers and crazy surfers and, “Let the sea roar, and all its fullness” (Psalm 96:11) surges from God mouth right over soul’s shore.

I gulp Living Water down and thirst for more. For more“tremble before Him all the earth,” to swallow me. And surfer drags board to shore and doubles over. Did he get shaken up out there in wild toss? I watch him pace, shake the tremble off, and paddle out again.

“Give, give, give to the Lord!” It’s all Psalm Ninety-Six roar alive. And this surfer is. They all are. And they don’t even know it.

And little boy plays rambunctious tag with waves that surpass even his energy, while his mother and sister bend more sedate over something in sand. And my own two girls, young ladies really, hold hands best-friend like and jump waves lopsided and twirl and wave up to me.

I’m still on balcony three floors up. Watching “give” happen.

All give without even knowing it because isn’t this kind of give just joy and play breaking open spontaneous and laughing right out?

Daughters in Waves
 I’ve heard said the earth laughs flowers. I lean over balcony rail and ask God right out over ocean itself, “So does the ocean roll with laughter? Does wave after wave of laughter run wide open and out loud up and down the beach?” It is and what am I doing up here, anyway?

“Give!” He says it delight full. Like He’s really loving the “give” He’s seeing. “Give! Give! Give to the Lord!” It splashes off scripture page and I want to. I want to get drenched in the splash.

“Let the earth laugh flowers!” Is He twirling? “Let all the islands rejoice!”

I can almost see Him surfing. “You do, surf that is, don’t You!”

“From island to island and horizon to horizon!” And He is getting carried away in His own fun. He is! I feel it.

The waves keep coming. Line after line. White lipped ‘til the laughter can’t be suppressed one second longer and it explodes out wide open mouth and white froth and it reminds me of when I laughed so hard with my sister that, well, laughter spewed out all white froth. Because we laughed out milk and cereal and isn’t it wonderful that sometimes it just can’t be suppressed?

I’m torn between running down three flights of stairs to beach and staying right here on balcony. Because there are more words. And I don’t want to miss them.
I turn to the Psalm Ninety-Six Word-song. Song is what Psalm means, after all. Line after line and verse after verse spill song off page, “Let all rejoice before the Lord! For He is coming, for He is coming…!”

“I see what You’re saying, Lord.” And I do. I hear it, too. It’s in line after line of wave after wave tumbling out verse after verse in Psalm-song.

Deep calls it out to deep, “He is coming! He is coming! Coming from the ends of the earth!” And it was song sung out all Holy Word before He came.

Water broke open before He came. And Mary tossed in the waves. Waves after wave of labor rhythm. One at a time they build in strength, increase in power, break over her and then recede. And she clenched her jaw.
But the Son of God was flesh and blood born on this earth shore that does tremble deep beneath every wave that pounds vast and powerful and breaks open and sweeps us out because no ocean wave or wave of the sea can clench jaw and contain “He is coming!” He walked right on top of water and waves like those crashing onto shore three floors down. It is song this very day and it sounds like lion roar.” I am coming again!” And He is Lion.

Nothing can hold Him back. No ring ten centimeters wide or wide as circumference of earth’s horizons can hold back His coming. No jaw can clench tight against it. He is coming. The Word will sweep from the ends of the earth to this shore and everything above it and beneath it and in it knows this. And groans for it like Mary did.

“Spill Yourself out of me and pull me deeper into Your power. Into You deep. And deliver Your excitement and Your joy for Your coming ‘til I am washed out like flotsam rising and falling to the rhythm of, ‘He is coming.’” I groan it out like Mary.

God hears. He answers. “Give! Give! Give rejoicing and thanksgiving and singing! Give holy worship and exalt My many names!”

I do right here on balcony. “You Are.” I say it simple and deep. “You just Are the ‘I AM.’” Because there is no absence of presence in the word “Am.”


I watch the surfers enter into the constant. And I enter a different constant. Enter the constant I AM.
They are stronger than I will ever be. They pull hard, hand over hand through the breakers ‘til they are out far. They wait there, bits of flotsam bobbing on boards, for wave big enough to ride.  And I watch them surf high wave power. I will never be strong enough in body to do what they are doing. I would if I could, just to feel in my body what I know in my spirit. But I am carried by higher power.

“God, make my spirit strong to surf! To enter past the shore line of Your gates and into the vast depths of Your courts like I see these surfers do from ocean shore and beyond.”

“Give! Give! Give to Me thanksgiving!”

“I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving.”

“Give! Give! Give to Me praise!” He continues.

“I will enter Your courts with praise.” We are having Psalm conversation and then fall quiet.

A few moments of silence between us, then, “Wanna race?”

I laugh with Him, “You’re on!”

And the two of us take off down the hall to the stairs and trip awkward through loose sand so warm and join the girls. We play and our laughter sprays up and runs along ocean edge and we splash each other in it.

And God is delighted. I just know He is.
Because this is praise.

written by: Carolyn Roehrig

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