Today’s passage: Psalm 33
Today’s chocolate: Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
According to Brueggemann’s classification scheme, we’ve definitely got a psalm of orientation here. The congregation is called to praise, God is recognized for his majesty and power as Creator, and the nation places its hope and happiness in him. I’ve said before that I find psalms of disorientation and new orientation more interesting than psalms of simple orientation, but as I was reading this today, I found myself thinking: I miss this.
That’s hard to admit. In high school, I remember enjoying worship. I’d look forward to Sunday nights, when all of us would stand on our chairs and sing praise songs, and I’d feel that connection to my fellow Christians, united in praising God. It was all very “Hope Set High.” But in college, I went through some rough spots, and coming out of it, I didn’t enjoy worship nearly as often or as much. Sunday morning worship became something I did because it was good, and because God certainly deserves our worship because he’s perfect and all that–but for better and for worse, my motivation was no longer that I expected to enjoy it. I no longer looked forward to it.
I especially miss that sense of community. And that’s what hit me about this psalm: it’s one for the community. David starts by calling the people together: “Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright” (1). There’s a joy in acknowledging God’s goodness through song: his faithfulness, righteousness, justice. We’re meant to be creatures of the truth, especially the truth about how good God is. And when I read David’s words, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance” (12), it reminded me of I Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” As Christians, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, God has made us a holy nation, a nation whose God is the Lord. We’re a community.
And at the end of the psalm, David pens lines for the whole community to sing together. He writes, and everyone sings:
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in You. (20-22)
And suddenly there’s this “we.” The psalm started with a speaker addressing the congregation, “you righteous ones,” and led into praise of God’s power in crafting the world and administering justice and mercy, and by the end all the people are speaking with one voice, one heart, one soul. God has brought them together in their faith in him. They’ve got joy.
And I miss feeling like that.