Text: Psalm 100,”O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands, serve the Lord with gladness, and come before His presence with a song.” BCP.
In the dark days of 1941, with deep snow on the ground and nightly air raids, my father was seriously ill- caused by the effects of an earlier war. A friend from the factory came to visit him, and seeing us children depressed, decided to cheer us up. He taught us the first chorus I had ever heard; “I am H.A.P.P.Y, I am H.A.P.P.Y, I know I am, I am sure I am, I am H.A.P.P.Y.
From the Psalm, then, let us be encouraged to know in this life that we can be happy because we belong to God and can claim to be His beloved.
Be joyful – be happy!
Although the Psalm addresses the land, it is obvious that the world and the people in it are called to serve the Lord with gladness. We can approach the presence of God with singing. It is a joy to me that the Church has inherited the love of singing from the Jewish Temple, and later, the synagogue services.
In times of stress or despondency, let us sing our hearts out. Who knows where music came from?
Is it from the beat of the heart, or the sounds of the wind? All I know, is that my head is full of music, mostly hymns and choruses, but other tunes as well. So I urge you to be happy in song and in your heart!
Belong to God!
The Psalm tells us that God made us- “We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” At times, we may feel lonely, deserted even by friends or family. Take heart- we belong to God. I am sure that the people of Israel in their long struggle to survive, would be encouraged by this verse. The Christian Church has also claimed this vision of belonging to God through Christ our Lord. The image of Jesus being the Good Shepherd comes to mind and so in Christ, we believe we also belong to His fold.
In this world with all its modern devices, there are people who feel left behind some how in the events of our times. We are not alone! We take comfort in the words of Scripture - “We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” Take a moment to look at our modern scientific orientated world. Deep down people of every background crave acceptance. We cannot solve all the problems of race and ethnicity, but we can as Christians repeat and live out our belief that we belong to God! We can also say that in Christ we also belong to one another.
Verse four tells us that the “ Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting!” What this means, attested by the prophets and the New Testament is that God loves us. Despite our weaknesses and mistakes, God still loves us and forgives us.
John in the well known John 3:16 verse says,”God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
In pre-Christian times, the gods were deemed fearful and tremendously powerful. We believe that we are God's beloved people. Hosea 11:1,”When Israel was a child, I loved him and called him out of Egypt as my son.”
Let us then be happy because we belong to the family of God. The Lord God Almighty loves the people of this world. All these things should fill us with joy and help us to sing,”I am H.A.P.P.Y.” Surely all of us are called to share this happiness, not only with our friends and family, but also with the people who share this world with us today.