Celebrating Joy

Psalm 66 begins with these words “Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise.” The reason why we should make this wonderfully joyous noise? According to the psalmist it is because God has done great things in our lives! As I contemplate this psalm I know the answer to the question “What great things has God done?” God died for my sins, raised Jesus to new life, extends the gift of that life to me through baptism, grants me peace, love, and blessing untold etc.… I have heard about these great deeds all my life. But if I am honest with myself it does not always feel like God is doing great deeds in my life. Sometimes I get so lost in my present circumstances, trials, and worries that I do not feel God’s great works and this leads my mind to… well… forget about them. Yes I will admit it. Sometimes it is hard to remember just how great God is. Our culture so values and lifts up the present life experience as the be all and end all to the meaning of life that we tend to over focus on it to the exclusion of the past and the future. This total focus on present life experience damages my ability to worship God. I lose sight of how wonderful God is. How much God has showered me with love in the past and how many great experiences await me in paradise once this life ends. When I focus on only my present circumstances, my perspective gets skewed and it makes it hard to see and feel God’s presence.

This is why it is so important to hear the words of the psalmist -to proclaim God’s majesty –regardless of what I am feeling and experiencing at any particular moment. In doing so, I take my eyes off myself and focus on God. This helps me to see where God is acting in my life. I then begin to remember that the wondrous deeds did not stop two thousand years ago on the first Easter morning. Easter is an ongoing event –it does not end! Part of growing in my faith means that I need to learn how to make a joyful noise – to proclaim God’s glorious praise in new, exciting, even unorthodox ways. My prayer for all of us at Alpine is that we learn to express our gratitude and joy for God in such creative and wondrous ways that the effects of Easter can be seen by everyone whom we encounter. In our upcoming stewardship series “Celebrating Joy” we will examine how sharing God’s joy is an essential part of stewardship as well. The world is in so much upheaval right now, it needs to experience some of the joy that God has granted us.

Pastor Dan

P.S. If you are wondering how you can make a joyful noise for God – one great way is to hang around some children. Children seem to have no inhibitions to making joyful noises and expressing in the most creative ways the joy they have for life.

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