1 Shout to the LORD with joy, all who to earth belong. 2 Adore the LORD with joyful hearts and come to him in song.
3 Know that the LORD is God; he made us as his own. We are the sheep for whom he cares— his people, his alone.
4 Enter his gates with praise, his courts with thankfulness. Your praises gladly sing to him; his name for ever bless.
5 For God the LORD is good; his love is ever sure. His constant truth and faithfulness through every age endure.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the haunting tune Golden Hill here. The editors of Sing Psalms also suggest it can be set to the jolly tune Diademata which you can hearhere.
Today is Pentecost Sunday, and Psalm 100 is a good thematic match.
In services today, we will probably hear Acts 2, when God’s Church burst into life! The excitement in that reading is palpable. How do we respond? Psalm 100 gives us inspiration.
This Psalm has inspired many hymns/songs through the centuries: e.g. “All People That On Earth Do Dwell” (Old 100th), “Jubilate, Everybody!” (Fred Dunn), “Jubilate Deo” (Taizé)…
In 2019, ‘worship’ is an unfamiliar, ‘religious’ concept to many. Psalm 100 offers an understanding…
Who? Verse 1 identifies all humankind. The message at Pentecost began the Church’s mission to fulfil the desire within the Psalm.
Whom? God is the object of our worship (Verses 1, 2, 3, 5). The materialism in our world offers us the short-term: today’s TV heroes are next year’s ‘Z-list’ celebrities; how many models of iPhone have there been? God is long-term.
What? How? The Psalm encourages us to do 7 things: shout, adore, sing, know, enter in (come together), praise and bless. Ask folk how they feel after going to these things: sports event, musical concert, political demonstration, church service. The Psalm speaks of joy and gladness. God did not gift us with these emotions, only for us to dismiss or discourage them in our church worship.
Where? Those who worship God should come together (v.4)
When? “for ever” (v.4) In contrast to the transience of the human world, when we get caught up in God’s story, our part in it has no end.
Why? Verses 3 and 5 speak of the nature of God. We are God’s creation: our Creator longs for relationship with us with a love that has no limits and knows no barriers.
At Pentecost, believers heard and understood God’s message in their own language and the world changed.
Through the Reformation, believers experienced the Scriptures in their own language and the world changed.
How can the people of the 21st Century encounter God and the world be changed?
Holy Spirit, Comforter, on this day of Pentecost we celebrate Your presence. As Jesus promised, You give us the joy which endures deep within, a joy which carries us even in times of trial. You do not impose, You come to strengthen us, defending the dignity of each person. And in our great diversity, it is in You that we find unity and peace. Amen.
(Prayer by Brother Alois, Taizé)
Walt Johnson, Elder, Wilbraham St Ninian’s URC, Chorton, Manchester.