“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—who forgives all your iniquity…” (Ps 102/103: 1-3)
In this Psalm I “bless” (εὐλογέω) the Lord, which literally means “say a good word,” or “praise.” By “blessing” God I do not give Him something He doesn’t already have, because He is the source of all good; He is the source also of all “good words” or “blessings.” So when we sing this Psalm in church, we remind ourselves of this fact, adding the refrain, “Blessed are You, O Lord.”
So why am I called to “bless” Him? Because it does me good. It is good for me to praise the good in this world, the source of which is God, rather than spend my time grumbling about the bad, the source of which is our bad choices. Praising the truly good, so as to “not forget all His benefits,” brings me gratitude, which generates humility and peace. Grumbling about the bad in this world generates the opposite, although many seem to prefer it on social media and elsewhere. But in our church-services we spend very little time, as a liturgical community, decrying bad things, and spend almost the entire time contemplating and praising the good. The only “bad things” I am called to contemplate at any length in liturgy are my own sins. But even in this area, of my sins, I do not wallow in the “problem,” but look to the Solution; to God’s healing and forgiveness.
Let me “bless the Lord” on this Sunday, with “all that is within me.” I ask in heartfelt prayer for His gifts of gratitude and peace, that I may have eyes to see the abundance of His grace in my life and in this world. “Blessed are You, O Lord.”