Psalm 100 - Enter his gates
1) Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
2) Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
3) 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.
4) Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
5) For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Proper 6, Sunday between June 12 and June 18, Year A
Christ the King, Year A
Church musicians, worship leaders, tambourine-shakers, singers, and shouters all cite this psalm's authorization of their activities. And rightly so. Worship is a time to bring it, bring your best, to be exuberant, all-in, full-throated in praise, adoration, and communion with God.
It is worth noting that the psalm does not bless every noise-making activity. It instead commands the faithful to make their noise joyful, and to direct their noise to the attention and in the service of the Living God.
It is also worth noting that the psalm is labeled as "A Psalm of Thanksgiving," although that might be apparent in reding the words. God's goodness to us, and God's good will for the world are always cause for joy and thanks.
Let us not think that "joyful noise to the Lord" is something only found in church or temple. We make it whenever we turn to God with thanks and joy. Occasionally, though, I wonder how God receives the many messages she receives from her creation. I think of God - as I understand God - as having a boundless capacity for some of those things we regard as scarce resources. Goodness. Truth. Holyness. Forgiveness and mercy. Compassion. Justice. And love.
These are not things God does, like an artist choosing colors for his painting of Creation. These are things God is. God's nature is to be passionately involved with the world she loves into being. The closest analogies we have are for God as Father, as Good Shepherd, as Mother Hen who loves and protects those in his/her care.
So, for God, I imagine that every day he hears joyful noises. I imagine God rejoices in the rhythm of waves on the beach and the call of seagulls. In the soft sounds of the woodlands and grasses waving in the breeze. In the quiet of pages being turned in a library and the bustle of commerce. And in the daily fight for a better world, a more just world, for love in action.
So while protest may not seem like the most joyful activity, born of sorrow and rage and frustration, it may strike a similar chord in God's ears to the ritual joy of worship. God rejoices when God's people do God's will.
So strive to make your cause be not only right, but righteous. Bring to all that you do the joy and thanksgiving that comes when you are walking in the light of God. When your eyes are upon God's prize - the kingdom of justice and peace - then the whole world is the temple.
Enter the Lord's gates with thanksgiving,
and her courts with praise.
Give thanks to her, bless his name.
Fibonacci Blue, Black Lives Matter protest in south Minneapolis, December 4, 2014 following the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY - "I can't breathe." Used under (CC BY 2.0). Please note this image was taken in Minneapolis five and a half years before George Floyd's breath was taken from him on that city's streets.
* 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.