Psalm 95 (NRSV)
1 O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would listen to his voice!
8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your ancestors tested me,
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they do not regard my ways.”
11 Therefore in my anger I swore,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
There is little wonder why generations upon generations of Western Christians have so heartily sung this psalmody morning after morning in their services of Matins. Walter Pater once put it well: “All art aspires to the condition of music.” Or we may recall a comment often attributed to St. Augustine: “Those who sing, pray twice.”
In no more flourishing or refreshing way can a person or community enter morning’s light than with so much “joyful noise” after “joyful noise” rising to the Maker of all things, to the God who bestows beauty upon the depths and the heights, and upon the seas and the lands, and who caresses God’s own beloved community with a voice both tender and fierce.
How troubling it is to listen to God’s voice turned fierce when individually and collectively our hearts have turned hard, as the final verses note. How deeply can I, can we, ponder the stubborn materiality of our global water crisis?
Come, Holy Spirit, embolden us toward both “joyful noise” and attentive listening to your voice, whether tender or fierce. Amen.