Psalm 100:1-5

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:1-5

A friend of mine and I are out of town today. We are taking a couple of days off to ride through Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Anticipating being gone, I actually wrote today’s devotion earlier this week. We will be back on Saturday afternoon so we can be in worship on Sunday morning.

Through the years I have noticed that I never really feel like I am back home, after having been away, until I get a Sunday morning under my belt. Sunday morning worship has been a part of the rhythms of my life since my sophomore year in college and certainly since I became a pastor. It is seeing the people. Listening to music and singing. The movement of the liturgy, whether traditional or contemporary. Praying the Lord’s Prayer in a crowd. Those quiet moments immediately before and after receiving Holy Communion. The feeling of “sent-ness” that comes at the end. I sense God and I find myself in worship.

Back in the long haired playing guitar at Bible camp days, we used to sing a song based on Psalm 100. I can’t read the words of this psalm without thinking about that song. It was boisterous and fun. We sang it full throated with smiles on our faces. This ancient song of the faithful still sings!

I remember the days that people used to call the “worship wars.” Such a strange dynamic and such an unfortunate way of talking about worship. Of course I have always been a fan of making room for guitars and drums and microphones in worship alongside organs and pianos and chimes and bells. Through those years I kept remembering the voices of kids at camp saying “Why can’t regular church be more like this?” Well, it can. And it can’t.

Sunday morning worship can never recreate the excitement of being with a bunch of other kids for a week away from home, filled with fully programmed activities designed to impact kids. But even on Sunday morning, the most important musical instruments will always and forever be human voices singing together, driven by the passion of our hearts and minds.

We’re learning that now.

We’re learning that worship as entertainment doesn’t work nearly as well as people thought it might. Few congregations can duplicate the levels of entertainment that people have come to expect. And those that do are beginning to question the depth to which seeds of faith are being planted. Younger people are starting to smell a rat. They are looking for something deeper. And still we sing Psalm 100.

I’ll bet that there are still Lutheran congregations in the Midwest who sing in four part harmony. There are still people who can sing many hymns without looking at the book or the screens in front of the room. But the times are a changing. And still they sing Psalm 100.

I love this line – I don’t know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future. And I know that God will always welcome us home as we come into his presence with singing.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, put a song in our hearts today. Put a song in our hearts that encourages us and reminds us of your goodness, your power, your compassion, and your grace. Bring us home to worship on Sunday morning with hearts full of gratitude and expectation. Shine through the faces that greet us. Speak to us through lyrics, through scripture, through prayer, and yes, even through preaching. We ARE your people. We trust your promises. We are at home with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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