Verses for The Great Fifty Days
Day 36 in Easter
(A belated posting for Sunday, May 6)
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
….let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Three times this psalm invites us to sing God’s praise. Later, in a part we seldom read in worship, this psalm will warn us of the dangers of hardening our hearts.
The invitation to sing God’s praise, to join the festal procession, to participate in the great celebrations of God’s grace and glory is, after all, invitation. It’s an invitation to a party. There will be food and music. The crowd will share in the excitement of the day. It will be memorable. It’s not to be missed. And we are all invited
But this is also something more than an invitation. The warning that comes later in the psalm reminds us that this is not like those invitations to some seminar on investing for retirement, or to a public meeting with our congressional representative. This is more like an invitation to a friend’s wedding or to the family Christmas. To shun such an invitation reveals something has gone wrong in us. The psalm calls it hardness of heart.
There are occasions, of course, when families or faith communities are dangerous and destructive and ought to be avoided, but that’s not what we are speaking of here. We are speaking of those times when resentment, apathy, guilt or grief, or the pursuit of our own work or pleasures, hold us away – any number of things that dull or block our care for others.
Hardness of heart might have any number of causes, but the proper therapy is to show up anyway. We don’t always feel like joining the family Christmas, but failing to show up will not bring us closer to one another. And we may not always feel like singing God’s praise, but failing to show up will not draw us closer to God.
We are 36 days into the Easter season, and the joy of Easter is easily eclipsed by the demands of daily life. But the grave is empty. Christ is risen. The new creation is begun. Grace and life have come to reign. And it calls us daily to come into God’s presence with thanksgiving.
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Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Steps_-_panoramio_(4).jpg Mark A Coleman [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons