By Anne Stubbins Powers
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Connecting with God (the Divine) is increasingly challenging with the absence of in-person worship. With that, I find myself drawn to Psalm 100, a Psalm I learned by memory as a song in youth choir. In it I find David encouraging me to connect with God. The following is my take on David’s advice and how I apply it in connecting with God:
100:1. SHOUT for JOY to the Lord, all the earth
I sing in the car and dance to praise music in my house. Joyfully shouting helps when I’m particularly irritated and trying to change my mood.
100:2 SERVE the Lord with gladness
I look for places to serve in my community. It is not an accident that serving both makes your feel good and connects you to God. In serving others we catch a glimpse of heaven and know how we will be able love and serve one another.
100:3 Know that the Lord, HE is GOD.
As a self-professed control freak, understanding that “God is God and I am NOT” is an ongoing journey. One thing that helps me understand that is looking up and releasing my issues to the God of the Universe creates a connection like no other.
100:4 Enter His gates with THANKSGIVING.
A professor of psychology once told me it is impossible to be grateful and be discouraged at the same moment. I’m no expert, but David paints a picture where the act of gratitude is how we enter the gates of heaven where there is no sickness or sadness.
100:4 Enter His courts with PRAISE.
In 7th grade, my music director’s wife had a baby, and he needed someone to play for the youth choir. I wasn’t particularly good, but he and my piano teacher worked with me. Somewhere during my solitary practice time in the sanctuary, I started to connect with God in a very real way. Ever since then, playing the piano is how I enter God’s courts with Praise.
100:5 The Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting. His truth endures to all generations.
COVID-19 is causing quite an upheaval in all facets of our society. It reminds me of the many times in the Old Testament when God’s people were turned away from God and He had to turn them back to HIM. My son is a rising high school senior who is looking at a very different senior year than we once imagined for him. But remembering that God is GOOD, MERCIFUL, AND ENDURING TO ALL GENERATIONS reminds me that he will be faithful to us from generation to generation. And the knowledge of that connects me to God daily when I deal with frustrating circumstance.
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