This is set to Old One Hundredth “All People That On Earth Do Dwell”
As a young child, I often accompanied my father on his preaching engagements. One chapel, we visited regularly, had a banner painted across the front of the chapel, high on the wall above the pulpit, so it could always be seen, with the words “enter into his courts with praise”. I didn’t then know that the words were from Psalm 100.
If we take this Psalm seriously, we are reminded that the worship and praise of God is why we are here, and what God has gathered God’s people into a community, which we call the Church, in order to offer God our thanks and praise.
In a time when faith is challenged, and the organisation of the community, the Church, is beset by many storms around us, it is perhaps difficult to imagine crowds of faithful witnesses moving together as one in praise to God, yet it is precisely at such times when words such as these should come to our lips. Questions such as why are we here, and what is the Church for, often seem to be asked, and this Psalm tells us that the answer is the worship and praise of God. Many things will flow from that as responses to our worship and your call to use to act and work with you in the world, but this Psalm reminds us that the reason you called us into your Church to offer worship and praise.
Whenever we sing this Psalm we join a vast community of praise throughout the course of history. We celebrate God’s enduring commitment to the redemption of the world, and we reaffirm our common identity as God’s people, united in wonder, love, and praise.
Lord Jesus, who showed us our place in your heavenly Father’s love, may we enter your gates with praise, and go from your courts to serve you in the poor, the lost and the wandering, encouraged and strengthened by your Holy Spirit, today and every day. Amen.
The Rev’d Dr Michael Hopkins, Minister of a group of Methodist and United Reformed Churches based around Farnham, Surrey, and Clerk of the General Assembly.