I was reading this Psalm today in my little church service of the Church of the Heavenly Light of Jesus Christ and I felt really lifted up by each verse of it. The first and second verses say, “Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.” In my church service I sing from old hymnals and I have such a feeling of nostalgia when I sing these old songs of worship, they take me right back to the little churches I grew up in, where the some of the hymnals were threadbare from use. They contain all the old religious songs, some of which date back a couple hundred years. I will never forget the sound of the whole congregation, young and old, singing from these old hymnals. Many churches today sing lyrics that are projected on a screen, and I miss the days when the preacher said to turn to a certain page and sing “Just as I am” or “Bringing in the Sheaves” and many other old classic hymns.
Verse three of Psalm 100 says, “Acknowledge that the Lord is God! he made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” I think about this often, how though we human beings can sometimes figure out aspects of creation like geometry or dating of fossils or relics through scientific means, we can’t breathe life into anything. We can split the atom and classify the elements, but we are mere observers of this process of God’s creation of all things at best. Science can paint a really gloomy picture of creation, with its denial of a greater consciousness that is designing all forms of life, and constantly changing them to suit their needs in their environment. God is the consummate artist, the painter on an endless canvas of life, and Christ is our beautiful star that breathes light and life onto our planet, without which no form of life on earth would exist.
Verses four and five read, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” This is something I try to do throughout the day, thank God for things that lift my spirit and sustain my life in this world. Many times I absentmindedly forget to say the blessing, or thank God for seeing a new butterfly or flower, but I do stay mindful that I need to give thanks whenever something touches me deeply, like the beauty of the natural world.
I lived a secular life for so long that old habits are hard to break, but I am getting better and better about giving thanks throughout the day to God for all his creation, for his mercy and forgiveness, and for sending his son Jesus to earth to teach us about Salvation through repentance and forgiveness of our sin, something that Christ was willing to face a brutal death in order to share with us. We owe the very creation of our souls to God, and Christ faced incredible suffering in order to teach us how to sustain them in the next existence. There is so much to be thankful to them for, and this Psalm really reminded me of that this morning when I read it.
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