I am writing this on November 5th which, in the UK, is Guy Fawkes Day, also known as Fireworks Night. It’s a time of celebration where people wrap up warm, gather around bonfires and enjoy firework displays.
In fact, the fireworks have been going on for a little while now. Each evening has brought with it the noise of rockets being set off and fireworks exploding in the night sky. If the cloud cover isn’t too bad, you get to enjoy the colourful displays in the darkness as the various rockets and other explosives burst into their luminous results.
All of this has got me thinking about fireworks and brought to mind the title of a song by the excellent Rend Collective, ‘Praise like fireworks’ (you can listen to the song here).
That song is aptly named, because it strikes me that fireworks are a very good picture of what our praise ought to be like.
First, our praise is directed upwards. Like a firework speeding into the sky, our praises are directly toward God our Heavenly Father. We send our words, prayers and songs of praise up to Him, launching our rockets of rejoicing to our God in Heaven.
Second, our praise is colourful. Fireworks give so much joy, not from the loudness of their booms (although some will enjoy those) but from their colour. There is something wonderful and beautiful about seeing the dark night sky lit up with greens, blues, oranges and reds. There is joy in witnessing a flower of light bloom above us in all of its colourful array.
So too with our praises. They should be full of colour, wonder and diversity. Praise should take as many forms as we are able: Songs, music, prayers, words, poems, art, conversation, and so much more. Our praise of Almighty God ought to be multi-coloured and beautiful in its array.
Third, our praise is temporary. Some forms of praise, such as art, may be longer lasting, but most praise – a song, a word, a prayer – are short and short-lived. We speak out our praise, it blooms and then it is gone, much like a firework. That is okay, and as it should be. Praise it not eternal, but a response to the Eternal One who is worthy of praise.
Praise does not last, but makes room for more praise to come. The night sky would be much less enjoyable if every firework launched upwards stayed visible after it’s explosion. Soon the sky would be filled, but with so much display that nothing would be distinguished from another. The beauty and wonder of a firework is seen in the backdrop of a clear sky. The temporary nature of a rocket makes way for the beauty of the next.
So too with praise. Our praise is temporary so that it makes way for more praise. We are not meant to say a word of praise, and leave it at that. We are meant to have lives that spill forth in praise to God continually, each word of praise making room for the next to come after it.
This year, let’s enjoy fireworks, whether on 5th November or 4th July or any other time of the year. Let’s see in their beauty a picture of the beauty of our praise and let our praise be like fireworks throughout the year.