Shouts Of Praise

“These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.” Psalm 42.4
I was recently in our church sanctuary on a Monday– it was empty – normal during most days of the week.  As I looked out across the empty pews, I remembered times when those pews were packed with people ready to join the “procession”, to give thanks with shouts of praise to the God of the Universe – Yahweh – the Great I Am – the one who brought all things into existence.  How I miss those times of worshipful celebration.  Yes, I know, it’s not about the sanctuary, or the building.  It’s not even about the number of people who gather on Sunday mornings.  However, like the Psalmist, my soul longs for the time when all God’s family will gather together in His house, and the sanctuary will once again be filled with God’s people offering praise and thanksgiving to the One True God.
These days I will take whatever I can get.  In spite of having everyone wear masks and stay socially distanced, and the sanctuary being far from full, I look forward to Sunday mornings.  I love seeing the eyes of those who have gathered together for worship.  Yes, the eyes.  Eyes can say so much and tell so many stories.  I may not see their smiles, but their eyes say it all.  You can see the joy beaming from just their eyes – revealing a heart of gratitude as they gather together in the “House of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.”
Then, as though to add insult to injury – it’s not enough that we are given limits on how we may gather for worship, and how many may attend, we have recently been told that we are no longer allow congregational singing.  I guess those who have given us these instructions do not understand the nature of God’s people and the ways that God’s Church has prevailed all these years.  We may not be able to sing with our mouths, but nothing can keep us from singing with our hearts – or even tapping with our toes.  We sing from the deeps of our being because God has given to us a new heart and a new song.
Even during this ongoing pandemic, nothing and nobody can rob us of the song that God puts in our soul.  (Not even the Grinch could keep the Whos’ down in Whoville from rejoicing and celebrating on Christmas morning.)  Our joy, our songs of praise, our worship is not prohibited by our circumstances.  The reason for our thanksgiving this week and throughout the year is because of Jesus Christ, the One “who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross.”  That is the reason we can give thanks with shouts of
“Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42.11
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Hamilton - November 26th, 2020 at 6:22pm

Thanks, Bill. We miss those days and those songs, too. Thanks for hanging in there to guide us when the dark days are past.

Peggy Schaffer - December 9th, 2020 at 4:49pm

Thanks for your positivity & your energy.

You engage us in the joy you feel for Jesus every time you preach.

Peggy Schaffer