Psalm 96 (NRSV)
Verse 1O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Verse 2Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Verse 3Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.
Verse 4For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.
Verse 5For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
Verse 6Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Verse 7Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Verse 8Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Verse 9Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.
Verse 10Say among the nations, "The Lord is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity."
Verse 11Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
Verse 12let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
Verse 13before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.
In the midst of exile the people of Israel asked, “How can we sing the Lord’s song in this foreign land?” In the midst of the pain and uncertainty of so many things in our present-day world, we may echo their expressions of longing and fleeting hopes.
Sometimes it seems we just have to repeat the words of hope often enough until we begin to believe what they promise. Perhaps it is like that with today’s psalm. The psalmist begins with a resounding call to join in the song: “O sing to the Lord a new song.” It continues with word after word of praise, until the final word of joy and promise: He is coming! He is coming! And he will act for all peoples in the ways of righteousness and truth!
Can you believe it? Try it! Sing the words with the psalmist. Let your body and your whole being begin to trust. Join in the song of praise and celebration!
O God, our salvation and our hope, even when we find it hard to say the words, help us to join in singing the words of celebration. You are coming, and in your coming you promise to be with us in the ways of justice and truth! Amen.