Looking Up: Reflecting on Psalm 100

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It’s hard to describe the homesickness that I feel in the middle of the winter. Nights are cut short by darkness, dark beer, and hibernation. Just when I can’t detest my thick layers any longer the corner appears. Spring, awakens after a long slumber. It saunters into moonlit evenings, stretches into blossoms and gentle breezes, and the sweetest lavender smells fill the air like buttery jazz music. Oh, how wonderful it is to watch the whole of creation making a joyful noise to the Lord.

Psalm 100, is my favorite call to worship. Through these words, make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth, I imagine the exchanging of seasons--winter to spring. I can witness the resurrection all around me--dying and rising with new life. But I can only bear witness to these things if I’m looking up. Earth Day was a few weeks ago. I remembered because I saw it on Instagram. It didn’t feel weird then. But as I reflect, it feels weird now. I noticed that it was Earth Day because other people were posting love notes to the earth on social media. What’s up with that?

As I’ve been reflecting on the psalmist’s call to creation, the second prompt tastes particularly sour: serve the Lord with gladness. Lately, I’ve been serving the Lord with anything but gladness. I’d call it serving passively or out of obligation. All of my gladness is spent instead, perusing Instagram, or Snapchat, or Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or Netflix--especially Netflix. I find it hard to sit at the dinner table without reaching for my phone. Before bed, I scroll through new Instagram photos.

When I wake up, I check my email. To let loose, I watch three episodes of my favorite show. I serve the allusions of connection. I serve the the relationships of people I see and don’t speak to. I show up for God, but I give my heart to the beautiful images I seen on a screen of people I’ve never met before.  

Thankfully, our psalmist reminds us, “that the Lord is God,” (I’ll add we are not), “it is he who made us, we are his;/we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” This careful reminder is so chalked full of grace and love. As a sheep, I am prone to wander. But Jesus, through His death and resurrection, has reminded us that He’s in it with us--He’s here for the long hall, He’s done the hard work, and is continuously showing us the way.

But this is going to take some work. It means feeling uncomfortable at a restaurant--leave your phone in your pocket, while your friend goes to the bathroom. It means waiting in line and noticing the people you’re waiting in line with. It means walking down the street without your headphones. It means awakening from the cold, dead winter, and rising with the cherry blossoms, the lilies, the daisies, and sunshine to make a joyful noise to the Lord, with all the earth.  

 

- Anna Radcliffe