Do you know why the 12 disciples had such a hard time getting from place to place? They all got together in one Accord.
Now I know what you are thinking but don’t leave just yet. Maybe you laughed a little, maybe you just rolled your eyes. But there is a reason for a dad joke.
Psalm 100 is a psalm of thanksgiving for all the wonder and joy God gifts to the world. It is in fact the only psalm with the title, “A Psalm for thanksgiving.” Which in its own has a lot to say about how people perceive the world. Where out of 150 Psalms only one is entirely devoted to joyful exclamation before our God. Don’t get me wrong. There are other psalms that are filled with joy, thanksgiving, grace and wonder at God’s love, yet Psalm 100 is wholly focused in calling all the earth to praise God in joy. Because when we encounter the love of God, we should be fill with joy for all that He has done and all that He will do.
Joy is one of the most underrated aspects of our Christian lives. Often, in the church we talk about the big theological implications of faith, such as grace, truth, freedom, salvation, love, and purpose. Rightly, we can and do spend lifetimes just trying to understand and examine these gifts God gives to us. We dive so deeply into the rich theological forest because there is so much that God offers through Christ. Sometimes we lose the beauty of the whole forest for the beauty of the individual the trees that make it up. Sometimes we focus so much on singular aspects of the life of faith that we lose sight of the totality of what Jesus does for us. In short, because we are so focused on every little detail, good or bad, we forget to rejoice in the Lord.
Which is such a shame, because the life found in Jesus Christ is one of joy and wonder, and grace. When Paul writes to the Philippians in chapter 4 he explicitly implores the church to “rejoice in the lord always.” And to paraphrase Matthew 5, Jesus himself calls us to rejoice and be glad, for great is our reward in heaven. Now this isn’t a naïve joy that pretends everything is hunky-dory all the time. It is a joy founded in the faith of Christ who by His sacrificial love for us gives us the most valued treasure of heaven, eternal salvation. Faith filled joy is that which acknowledges the suffering of this world yet is not defeated. This is a gift that takes away our hurt, our suffering, and leaves in its wake the redemptive joy of God’s grace.
Joy is the manifestation of the gift of faith found in Jesus. Therefore, Brothers and Sisters, in faith let us gather together and rejoice! Let our church cry out with a joyful noise for Jesus Christ is risen and in him we are given new life. The old world of sin is passing away. Let us enter the gates of the Kingdom with thanksgiving and gladness.
Every Sunday we encounter the power of God with joy and thanksgiving in worship. Through the Word and Communion we are strengthen to meet and triumph over the challenges of life. All you who are weary, all you who seek truth, all you who desire life abundant let us gather together and encounter the Son of God.
May God bless you and our congregation with joy that the world does not know.