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A Psalm of Praise

Updated: May 30

As we near the end of our sermon series “There’s a Psalm for That,” we come to one of the more familiar psalms. The joyous praise of Psalm 100.

Psalm 100 is probably one of the first psalms that pops into your mind when you think about the psalms. Not only have its words become familiar, but its praise of God rings loud and clear. For those unfamiliar with the whole psalter, Psalm 100 is one of those psalms that fits the stereotype of what many imagine all 150 psalms to be like.


It’s easy to understand why; it’s a psalm of praise. And the purpose of such a psalm is to proclaim who God is by telling what God has done. Praise becomes a testimony or witness: it is a form of song in which the gathered community bears witness to who God is.


The psalm begins with the call “Make a joyful noise to the Lord!” The point of such a call is to invite a community of worshippers into a celebratory expression of faith. It sets the mood for praise: it is joyful, unrestrained, glad, and celebratory.


But while God is deserving of praise simple because God is God, this psalm has a different purpose in mind. The goal of such praise is to form a community of disciples. Praise isn’t just about God; it is also about the human community that belongs to God.


And so, while the psalms of lament are addressed to God; these hymns of praise are actually addressed to the community. Rather than speaking directly to God, they speak about God.


It’s something like the hiker who comes across a stunning view and immediately invites her travelling companions to come and marvel with her.


The opening call to praise is something like that invitation to come and take in the marvelous view. And what follows is the unfolding testimony, or story, about who God is and what God has done.


Professor Rolf Jacobson writes, “The goal is to give God away to the neighbor. [They] bear witness to others – telling others who God is by telling what God has done.” Or in the words of Patrick Miller, “this type of praise is ‘testimony for conversation.’ Such praise seeks to bear witness to all who hear that God is God.”


The point of this, the psalms of praise make clear that God and the experience of God isn’t something to keep to ourselves. Rather it is meant to be shared. It’s meant not only to be celebrated with a community of those who already believe, but it is also meant to be shared with the world.


It’s a way of saying, “Look at my God! Look what my God has done!”


May we too be full of such praise!


Grace and peace,


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