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The Psalm sings to us from an ancient world steeped in Hermetic philosophy. First, all “that which is above” sings praise to the one God:

O PRAISE the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. – Psalm 148:1 (Coverdale)

All spirits and celestial elements begin to sing, voices rising upward through each sphere of the Ptolemaic cosmos: first the angelic host governing our sublunary realm, then the wandering planets nearest to mortals (sun and moon), ascending through the zodiac (stars and light), finally reaching beyond the very firmament of fixed stars beneath God's feet (all ye heavens, and ye waters that are above the heavens).

No silent, impartial sky, this. For the psalmist, life unites every layer of the visible universe under God and sets it all in blessed motion.

He hath made them fast for ever and ever: he hath given them a law which shall not be broken. – Psalm 148:6 (Coverdale)

Then, since “that which is below is from that which is above,” all created forms on earth echo the celestial hymn:

Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps… – Psalm 148:7 (Coverdale)

It spreads down through the elemental worlds (fire, snow, wind) into mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms (mountains, cedars, cattle, fowls). All human institutions and cultures reflect this Wisdom (kings, peoples), and every individual regardless of status or gender (young, old, men, maidens, children). Simply by existing, every one and every thing silently sings to the Lord beyond the sky. Last of all, “even the people that serveth him.” (148:13)

Advent comes in the darkness approaching the Winter solstice to remind us this union of Heaven and Earth is incomplete. What is must pass away before the marriage can be consummated.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. – Revelation 21:1-2 (RSV-CE)

The very reality we cling to, “made fast for ever and ever,” is only a reflection of its final form. We await its birth with the coming of the Christ.

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Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1965, 1966 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.