The Psalms are a beautiful, poetic expression of the wide range of human emotions and experiences. They include hymns of praise; hymns of thanksgiving, both individual and communal; hymns of trust; psalms of complaint, both individual and communal; prayers for help, both individual and communal; cursing psalms; royal psalms; festival psalms; historic psalms; wisdom or instructional psalms; and acrostic poems.
Psalm 100 is a hymn of praise springing forth from the depths of a joyful soul. It expresses the sheer joy of being in communion with God, of recognizing God’s goodness, and appreciating all that God has done. It is a response to God’s magnificence. It bursts from its host, not because God needs the praise, but because the host needs to express it.
What results from this unadulterated joy is worship (v. 2), knowledge of the Lord (this is more than knowing – it is living fully in God’s ways) (v. 3), and again worship (“Enter his gates…”) (v. 4). This gives us a clear image of the life cycle of a joyful child of God. It begins with worship, goes out into the world to live and thrive, and then returns to worship, much like the ebb and flow of an ocean’s tide. One can almost taste the bliss of a life driven by this rhythm of worship and praise!
The beginning of summer can be a wonderful time to encourage people to be mindful of God’s creation – of what goes on around them, to appreciate the things God has done, to slow down and see with eyes and spirits the goodness of a loving God, and to worship and praise in those moments when the greatness of God touches their souls. Remember this is not a commandment – it’s an invitation.
Some may not be feeling joyful. That’s ok. This text is a hope-filled reminder that there is joy to be found, that despair will not have the final say. Rejoice! Worship! Praise!
Narrative Lectionary Text: Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
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.
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.