Psalm 95 - People of his pasture

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1) O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2) Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3) For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4) In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5) The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

6) O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7) For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice!
8)    Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9) when your ancestors tested me,
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10) For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they do not regard my ways.”
11) Therefore in my anger I swore,
“They shall not enter my rest.”

Psalm 95
3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A
Christ the King, Sunday between November 20 and November 26, Year A, verses 1-7a

Psalms are sacred songs. Originally, each of these psalms was chanted or sung. Think of the popular images of David with his lyre.

Even if we do not do much singing of these songs, the theme of making a joyful noise to the Lord is treasured in worship. You have probably felt the energy of a song which lifts up the spirit of those singing it.

The acts of singing and dancing and moving in rhythm can be glorious. They have value just by themselves.

But there are some songs that are really worth singing. We praise God, because God is God. God is powerful, from the depths to the heights. That could be reason enough.

But for most of us, there's an even better reason to make a joyful noise, to sing exuberantly, to shout from the mountaintop and dance in the street.

This is our God. The joyful noise is to the rock of our salvation! We are the people of his pasture. There is a relationship of love and care and commitment.

That's a song worth singing.

Those last verses, though, describe a song where everyone is out of tune, where no one can find the beat, where harmony has been broken into cacaphony. Hardened hearts lead to loathing, alienation, isolation, and loss with no redemption. There is no joy in this noise. The faithful, loving, and honest relationship is shattered.

Take our best, please do something with our worst, heal us, renew us, and welcome us home. O come, let us sing to the Lord.

Uncredited, Sheep Farmer Shepherd. Public domain, Pixabay license.

* New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV), copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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