The score is tied with just seconds left on the clock, a collective breath is drawn and held as the desperation pass is lofted toward the end zone just as time runs out. When the catch is made and the touchdown signaled, a celebration is triggered that is simply wild. This scenario is played out over and over again during football season, which is in full stride once again. But regardless of the outcome of any game, I’ll be more excited on Sunday mornings in worship than watching the games on Sunday afternoon.
As a worship leader, I don’t know if I can say the same for everyone who comes to worship. Admittedly, I can’t see into the hearts of those gathered. But many times, what I witness is half-hearted attempts at singing, or not singing at all. And the outward emotion displayed, facial expressions and body language included, pale in comparison to the shouting, clapping and cheering that goes on at sporting events. I’m really not trying to be judgmental, but there is a huge disparity between the outward displays at the two events.
I’ve heard the arguments that God is to be approached with a holy reverence and respect, which just doesn’t lend itself to outward displays of emotions. And while I believe there are times when God’s Spirit overwhelms, and silences our praise with awe and wonder; the Psalms paint a picture of celebration when entering into worship. Psalm 98 and 100 are good examples. With phrases like “shout for joy,” “burst into jubilant song” and “worship the Lord with gladness,” the picture I see looks more like a celebration than a quiet procession.
And we do have cause for celebration. Almighty God, Creator of the universe, out of His endless love for us has reclaimed His people through His Son Jesus. We didn’t deserve it, we can’t earn it, but the gift of eternal life is available to all who believe.
A victory to be sure, but not in some game that has no eternal value. Rather, a personal victory for each of us over the sin and death of this world, thanks be to God. Now that’s something to celebrate!
Psalm 100—Dwell on God’s goodness, and the victory He’s given to those who call on His name. Then give him a cheer that rivals a homecoming win!