“O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.” (Psalm 98:1-2)
Sing a new song, meaning a psalm of praise and worship to the Lord. Each week of the lectionary a psalm passage is offered up – sometime one of praise, and sometimes of mourning or petition, or at times confession. But this Sunday the psalm is one of praise. But what if one does not feel like praising?
The other scripture passages in this week’s lectionary reading have been ones of positive outcome and of people coming to faith. We heard about the household of Cornelius who came to faith. And about God’s assurance of love for us and exhortation to us to love others. So it is not surprising that part of the lectionary reader would be a song of praise and worship in celebration of what has been told to us this week.
“He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.” (Verse 3)
God is a might God; mighty in love and mighty in action. God is love. But humanity struggles to love, and struggles to show love. Living is not easy, and loving is not easy. We fail to love, and human love fails us.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.” (Verses 4-6)
When we are feeling low, and not feeling love, we might make noise. Not a “joyful” noise, but noise nonetheless. Perhaps this reflection of mine is a corporate confession of sorts, that we let things get in the way and get us down, so we don’t or can’t make a joyful noise, sing praises and make pleasing music in celebration and thanksgiving to our Lord.
“Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth.” (Verses 7-8)
But thanks be to our Lord and God that others, and even creation, make a joyful noise. That is one of the benefits on being in a faith circle and having people surround you with support and love. When you cannot lift up your voice in joyful noise to save your soul!! . . . . Others around you can. Or, creation itself praises it Maker. Do not fear, beloved reader, if the noise you make to the Lord are not joyful or not filled with praise. Because our Lord is filled with love and mercy for us. The psalmist promises the reader concerning our Lord that . . . .
He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.” (Verses 9)
God will not judge us harshly, nay not judge us at all that life and living has made it hard or near impossible to sing a new song of praise and worship. That our songs are of sadness and petition, or confession. The psalmist has written psalms like that also.
That is why it is important to read about the mighty things that God has done, and to be reminded that the worries and cares of this world will not overwhelm or undo the good things that God does, and will continue to do.
May you, beloved reader, be blessed by God so that there is praise and joy in your heart. And when you struggle to raise up songs of joy, may you have people around you who will praise God for you, and pray for you. Selah!