It is fairly obvious I imagine that the “Preacher” and “Seeker” are different voices or personas that I use to convey perspectives on scripture passages, faith issues, and life in general. What you may not know is the posting platform I use does not make in easy or straightforward to use italics interspersed with plain text. So whenever I am going to use the “Preacher and Seeker” motif, I have to take a deep breath (or many) and keep my patience and temper in check. I really like using that way of presenting the psalm passages because they lend themselves to call and response, and dialogue – either with others, with one’s self, or with the Divine. I imagine the psalmist felt that way also. From the instructions that we find at the beginning of some psalms, I wonder too if the psalmist had “challenges” getting his verse presented the way he wanted them.
“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.” (Psalm 100:1)
Making a “joyful noise” is not done just through song. It can be done through prose/writing as I do it. It can be done through the visual arts as well. I had a fellow seminary student who immersed herself in the visual arts during her seminary studies and wrote a book outlining how the visual arts can be done in worship circles. I have dabbled also in the visual arts but more often now it is through writing that I make “a joyful noise to the Lord.”
The “to the Lord” part is important, otherwise its “just” entertainment or venting or some other form of communication to whoever is listening. Lately we have been hearing a lot of venting – both audible and visual. That, beloved reader, is rarely worship to the Lord. Although protests and demonstrations can be motivated by faith. Discern carefully though the outcome of the protests and venting. The outcome is important in deciding the advisability of any plan or intent. The psalmist plead his case/cause and the cause his people to the Lord God. And the Lord God heard. The Lord God also plead the Divine case/cause to the called and chosen people – they did not always hear! But, . . . I digress and we have a few more verses to look at.
“Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing.” (Verse 2)
Protests & demonstrations by their very nature are not often prompted by “gladness” lately. In fact as I ponder on that idea, one does not really protest when someone is glad about something. And when “protests” are combined with “demonstrations” we can assume that the “demonstration” is showing discontent. A counseling thought – in heaven the only demonstrations will be of love, compassion, and care; and there will be no cause of protest.
“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.” (Verse 3)
“We” – when the psalmist wrote this, he meant his audience and the people that comprised the Israelite nation. But, beloved reader, when we read this “We” it should be with the awareness that the Divine is the Lord God of all of humanity and creation. If that were true everywhere throughout the world, there would be no need for protests & demonstrations, and it would be “heaven on earth.”
“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.” (Verses 4 – 5)
As called and professed Christians – actually, beloved reader, words fail me. What I see in the news leads me to believe that Christianity falls far short of what Christ intended. You see, it is not enough to say this thanksgiving and praise, this blessing and goodness, this love and faithfulness happens. We need to make sure it happens for humanity in all generations. That was the Divine’s intention, and it should be ours! Shalom & Selah!