. . . and exults in Your glory, majesty and power. All creation sings your praises, whether it knows it or not.
Here is the sound of crickets, slowed down and down until they become a choir. I listened, first skeptically, then fascinated, and finally almost in tears, waiting for the basso profondos to stake their claim, for the sopranos to vault in exultation above the rest of the choir. When we say to God "All creation rightly sings your praise, " this is what we mean. Do the crickets know they are praising God? Oh, yes and no. Just being what they are, doing what they are made to do, they send forth this glorious roundsong.
We are made to do the same. When we are functioning according to our design, when we are doing what we are made to do, then we are praising God. I know that the saints have learned to do this in a very literal way: think of Corrie ten Boom praising and thanking God for the millions of fleas that infested her prison camp bunkhouse. She praised God, and only later did she realize that the vermin had kept away the guards, who would have discovered the secret Bible they cherished more than food.
But maybe even more profound than thanking and praising God for specific things, there is something else to hear, if you have the ears to hear: creatures praising God just because they exist. Because there is life. Because there is something, rather than nothing.
Augustine said, "And I said to all those things that stand about the gates of my senses: 'Tell me something about my God, you who are not he. Tell me something about him.' And they cried out in a loud voice, 'He made us.'"
In this un-self-aware praise of life itself, "There lives the dearest freshness deep down things." These creatures of the living God are "at rest in fulness of desire / For what is given."
This song they sing, this is why Philip E. Marlowe looks up from his world of sleaze and noir and permits the doctor he hates so cordially to hear the raw truth: he would have liked to use his pen to write the praises of the living God. He knows that's what he is for, and he weeps because he is doing something else, and doing it so well.
This is why the baby, when she learns to talk, will tramp around the yard in the morning, stopping at every daisy and dandelion and shouting, "Hi! Hi!" Because beauty wants us to speak. It wants to be greeted. It wants to be praised, and it wants us to join the chorus.
We spend too much time, maybe, worrying if we are conceiving of God in the right way -- if our relationship hits all the right notes. What the Father wants is for us to rejoice in our very existence, because through our lives we praise Him. Through our good works, yes, and through our efforts and sacrifices and conversions of heart. But also just because we are here -- because we are.
This is why our hearts beat even as we sleep, with every beat gushing forth life. This is why suicides tie their feet together before they dive into the cold river: because they know they will try to save themselves despite themselves, because life works so hard to be alive. This is why babies love other babies. What do they know? Not a thing. Only that we are here, we are here, we are here. Praise God.
Even when we fail, our very existence praises God because we are something, rather than nothing. We stumble through the decades, through the years of sin and turmoil and complaint, and where do we end up? Glory be. At the end of every decade, Glory be. Say this prayer now. Say it every day. You will be doing what you were made to do.