Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song. (Psalm 95:1-2)
Today’s Thirsty Thursday is a reflection on Psalm 95 from Matthew Rose, who is the pastor of Aberdeen Reformed Church in Grand Rapids (and also just happens to be my oldest son).
I don’t need to go to church on Sunday morning to worship God. I connect with god when I’m out in the woods. I connect with God when I’m lying on the beach. I connect with God when I, “put the car in drive, roll the windows down, and turn up the dial” (Maren Morris, My Church).
You’ve probably heard the line…maybe you’ve even dropped it once or twice yourself. “I don’t need to be in a building on a Sunday morning with a bunch of people to worship God.”
The thing is, there’s some truth to it. You don’t need to be in a particular building, on a particular day of the week, with particular people in order to worship God. And it’s true that there’s something about nature that seems to draw people to the glory of the one who created it all (Psalm 19).
But it’s also true that throughout the scriptures God calls his people to worship him not just as individuals but as a gathered community. In fact, this is one of the main storylines of the bible. God is rescuing not just persons but a people. Psalm 95, one of those classic calls to worship, reminds us of this.
Take a second to re-read the first half of the psalm.
Did you see it? Five times, “Come, let US…” It’s a call to worship Yahweh TOGETHER.
Something happens when we come together to sing, to listen, to eat, and to be sent out again as a body. Am I right? I don’t know about you but I am really missing that right now… being in a room full of Jesus people belting out ____(insert name of favorite song here)____. The best way I can describe what is happening in that moment, is that we are getting a little taste of heaven on earth. Go read Revelation 4. This is the scene in heaven 24/7. When we gather together to worship the living God we become participants in this song of heaven, amazingly, right here on earth. Psalm 95 invites us into this space.
So, that’s all good. But the reality is, you’re reading this in quarantine. You haven’t seen some of your friends in twelve weeks and their faces are becoming a little fuzzy in your mind. You’re not sure what day of the week it is, although you may know exactly where to find your mask. Your kids have started talking about Coronavirus like he’s that uncle who comes to stay for Thanksgiving and doesn’t know when to leave. Life is weird right now. What are you supposed to do with psalm 95?
First, let it feed your appetite to gather again with God’s people. Sit with it. Meditate on it. Cry over it if you need to. And second, let it drive you to God himself.
It’s been said that our worship is like the heat that comes from a wood-burning stove; and the fuel for the fire is a true vision of the greatness of God and the wonder of his grace, expressed in Jesus. Think of this time as an opportunity to stoke the fire by investing in things that remind you of his greatness and his grace. Keep up with the 50-Day New Testament Adventure (or do it all over again!). Walk across the street and ask the neighbor how she’s doing. Ask someone for forgiveness. Have a conversation with your kids about the pain of death and the hope of resurrection. Watch a beautiful movie with your roommate. Call your Share the Life Group leader and tell them something you’ve learned about God in this season.
And then go take a walk in the woods.