Thoughts for the Day

Tuesday, 2nd January 2024: Joyful praise!

Psalm 98 Praise Christians God Joyful

Reading : Verses from Psalm 98


The Lord has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


The poet Algernon Swinburne once said, “Thou hast conquered O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath.” You may feel shocked by his words, but if we pause to think about them there is definitely some truth to them. People in Victorian England (and it was probably similar elsewhere) knew their place. Swinburne came from a privileged place in society, but for most men and women life was hard. Neither did the rules and regulations about what was acceptable on a Sunday encourage a different attitude, inside or outside church, whatever the denomination. Charles Wesley's hymns certainly began to stir the emotions among members of the Methodist Church earlier in the 19th century, but many like Swinburne (who was anti-God), would have only known something much more sober in their parish church. None of this was likely to persuade people to "make a joyful noise to the Lord".

If we think, today, about what makes us happy, what do we come up with? Might it be something like the birth of a child; or some especially good news; or a gift from a loved one; or .......?) and how do we respond when we feel this happy? At the very least we tend to smile or laugh, or even sing or shout. We want to share our joy with others, and perhaps even dance. We can be giddy with joy.

Psalm 98 calls us to make a joyful noise to the Lord, and to sing His praises. We have such good news - that God loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, as a human baby to save us - that we should be giddy with joy. We should be singing continual praises to God, and be bursting to tell others about our faith. Or have we perhaps 'grown grey' to use Swinburne's expression, and allowed our secular world to suppress our joy?


Lord Jesus Christ,
invigorate us with the joy
that filled Mary and Joseph
at your birth.
Invigorate us with the joy
that took the shepherds
to Bethlehem
at the news of your birth.
May we be determined this year
to praise You each day,
and to share our joy with others.

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