A Joyful Noise into the New Year

            

             Read Psalm 100. “Make a joyful noise to Yahweh, all the earth” (Psalm 100:1)! There are varying traditions in which we celebrate New Year’s Day. In middle school and high school, for example, my friends and I had a tradition of staying up all night playing video games and pool in Mark’s basement. We would poison our youthful bodies with Monster energy drinks and feast upon the “Big Benito” from Benito’s Pizza—these humongous pieces of pizza that would last the whole night (and morning). Also, in America, there is the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions to be a better person, as well as the giant ball in New York City that falls during the countdown to the new year. Once it hits zero, there’s all sorts of loud cheering, fireworks going off, and lovers kissing at midnight.

This isn’t what the psalmist had in mind in the psalm, of course. It’s not that we are to shoot firecrackers in our churches, shine giant light shows during worship, and make empty promises to be a better person we never end up doing anyway. These things distract us from what is good and salutary during worship, and resolutions tend to depose God’s grace (though they can be good for Christian discipline, if they stay in that realm). Rather, “Make a joyful noise!” We do this with singing, hence, “Come into His presence with singing” (v. 2)! You might’ve heard me jokingly say before, “Scripture says to make a joyful noise to the Lord. A joyful noise doesn’t necessarily have to be in tune.” I’m joking, but I’m also being sincere. Sure, the musician inside me prefers people to sing in tune, but the Lord desires to hear a joyful noise; He doesn’t care whether this is in tune or not. You could sound like an overweight whale with an eating disorder for all He cares; He still loves to hear your rejoicing.

Many of us, I think, are afraid to sing in church because we know (or think) we’re not a good singer and/or we’re afraid we’re going to annoy our neighbour next to us since we know we’re tone deaf. So what? Make a joyful noise to the Lord!

Why ought we to make a joyful noise to the Lord? As the psalmist says, “For [because] Yahweh is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations” (v. 5). We praise God because He is good, because of His perennial steadfast love (which can also be translated as mercy, favour, or loving-kindness), and because God is faithful. As Paul says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

We should begin our year, then, with making a joyful noise to the Lord. Come to our New Year’s Eve service at 6pm! Sing a hymn at midnight! I would recommend LSB #809 Great Is Thy Faithfulness, for God’s faithfulness to His promise for you in Christ remains true throughout each year, no matter how bad it is.

 

In Christ

Vicar Ricky

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