“Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!” (Psalms 66:1 – 3a)
Countless generations have used the psalm passages to worship and pay homage to God. It is wonderful to think that we are connected to follow worshipers over time and geographic distance. United by our use of common passages, crafting them into our native tongue and our religious and faith practices. It actually puts to shame (or should put to shame) the division that we have allowed to arise, separating us from our fellow believers.
“Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name.”
Selah” (Verses 3b – 4)
If we are united under one God, why can’t we be united in our religious and faith practices? Are the differences so great that we are divided and pitted against each other? I’m not saying we should worship together under one ubiquitous faith, discounting the fine nuances and individuality that honors the uniqueness of each person. But neither should we condemn each other and dismiss & disparage other faith groups. There is only one God, but many diverse ways to worship God.
“Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let the rebellious not exalt themselves.
Selah” (Verses 5 – 7)
In the small town I grew up in, there were three distinct churches/faith groups. But I cannot remember what the names of the denominations were. It is not important, really. Once or twice a year there would be a pulpit exchange and we would have ministers from the other churches “guest preach” at our church. And then in the summer there would be a large church gathering of the three congregations at the local park. Those were simpler and more peaceful times. There is enough hatred and violence in this world that good and authentic people of faith should not allow denominational believes and theological issues to rouse up disharmony and hatred.
“Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.” (Verses 8 – 10)
With all that faces us and assaults us in this world, we should not let differences under the large umbrella of Christianity cause negativity and bitterness. It pains me to see my own denomination be divided over the issues of faith and lifestyle. Bigger divisions are present amongst denominations. Yes, we cling to our issues and perspectives of faith; but do not let it destroy the harmony and good will that God and Jesus Christ intended to smooth the way between believers.
“You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs;
you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.” (Verses 11-12)
The writer of this psalms passage intended it to be a song of worship and praise for the Lord who brought them through tough times. I hope and pray the people of good conscience can unite under these words, and bring praise and glory to our Lord God who has been with us and is with us still during our trials and struggles. Selah!