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Monday, September 14, 2015

Today’s Reading | Psalm 99

The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble!
   He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
The Lord is great in Zion;
   he is exalted over all the peoples.
Let them praise your great and awesome name.
   Holy is he!
Mighty King, lover of justice,
   you have established equity;
you have executed justice
   and righteousness in Jacob.
Extol the Lord our God;
   worship at his footstool.
   Holy is he!

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
   Samuel also was among those who called on his name.
   They cried to the Lord, and he answered them.
He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;
   they kept his decrees,
   and the statutes that he gave them.

O Lord our God, you answered them;
   you were a forgiving God to them,
   but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
Extol the Lord our God,
   and worship at his holy mountain;
   for the Lord our God is holy. (NRSV)      

Presbyterians are notoriously reserved about praise. Why is that? Here we have a psalm full of praise, full of joy, full of pride in our God. Why is it that when I first read it in order to write this devotion I cringed. It seems so over the top—like bragging: “My God is better than your God. Nyah, nyah, nyah!”

But why shouldn’t we be joyous in the knowledge that we are beloved children of God? Why shouldn’t we dance and sing and praise God’s works and God’s promises kept? If we come from a place of joy in our lives, wouldn’t that make it so much easier to bring joy to our brothers and sisters in the world? Doesn’t our world need a good dose of joy to go along with the hard work of doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God?

We don’t need to do those things with dourness. We can do them with joy, with heads up and eyes open and a song (psalm) on our lips.

Dear God, help me to experience joy and to share joy this day. Amen.

Written Jean Marie Koon, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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