“Pastor Tom, this is an i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-y long psalm!” No argument there.
Plus, it had been awhile since someone spelled out the word “incredibly” for me. True confession: that was actually quite helpful since I had been thinking about using that word in an upcoming sermon, and now I wouldn’t need to look it up in my spelling dictionary.
“It’s not even the entire psalm!” True enough, and next thing I knew my interlocutor was in full stride: “You don’t really expect anyone to pay attention all the way through, do you?”
I really hadn’t thought about what I was expecting. And just what is God expecting when you read a Psalm?
If poetry isn’t your thing, Psalms probably aren’t either. And if poetry is your thing, Psalms still can be tough. But read enough of them and you will uncover most everything: joy, desperation, anger and jubilation; prayers for mercy, smiting, forgiveness and deliverance; prayers of grief, gratitude, helplessness, confidence, peace, panic, hope, fear, and so much more, covering the full range of our emotions.
The psalm that prompted such incredulousness at the prospect of reading it was the water park Psalm (Psalm 104, although I haven’t met anyone else who’s willing to call it the water park psalm). Even on a cold winter’s day it’s a long psalm, never mind on a hot day that is daring you to go jump in Lake Erie just for the pure joy of it.
Could you imagine our Lord God wanting you to do something just for the pure j-o-y of it? That would be i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e. Some would even all it b-i-b-l-i-c-a-l.
Chances are there will be a lot of depressing news today, so here’s the question: what will give you pure joy today? What will let you rejoice in the Lord’s creation and also rejoice in the Lord? You might or might not be able to do it, but this might be a day when you can come close and let your joy be a delight to the Lord, to yourself and to others around you.
Let the glory of the Lord endure forever, let the Lord rejoice in his works …
I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live and I will glorify his name while I have my being.
May the joy of the Lord be with you today,
United Methodist Pastor, Child of God, Follower of Jesus Christ.