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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, May 4, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
   Worship the Lord with gladness;
   come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.
   It is he that made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
   and his courts with praise.
   Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the Lord is good;
   his steadfast love endures forever,
   and his faithfulness to all generations.  (NRSV)

I love the straightforward and simple elegance of this psalm. All too often I find myself struggling to overcome the density of scripture, especially when it comes to the Old Testament: there’s an awful lot of vengeance and violence and I have a difficult time reconciling that with the message of Christ’s unconditional love. But not here in Psalm 100! Here the joy bursts forth. It is an affirmative and powerful expression of the fullness to be found in consciously and intentionally bringing all of ourselves into worship. And it’s an affirmation of our relationship to God--one that is wrapped in the knowledge that we are surrounded, encircled, by God’s everlasting care.

I love the command to make a joyful noise. Essentially we are told “Don’t just sit there! Be present. Be involved.” Shannon Kershner once preached on the joy of being a God person. She said, “Taking the time, making the time, to drink in the joy of our Lord might just be the only way we will have the spiritual stamina to keep doing what God calls us to do and being who God calls us to be in our messy, complicated, broken, and chaotic yet shimmering-with-joy world.” In Psalm 100 we are reminded yet again that the fullness of that joy can be found always within us in the deeply rooted belief that God’s love endures and is faithful. And it can also be the hope we bring to each day. It is the promise expressed by the psalmist, and it is the promise kept on Easter morning.

Lord God of faithful, enduring love, help me feel the overwhelming gift of life lived in the joy of your embrace. May my noise be always joyful. Amen.

Written by Kenneth Ohr, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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