Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; *
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.
Know this: The Lord himself is God; *
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise; *
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting; *
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.
- Psalm 100
Psalm 100 is a really well known psalm, and is often used to open morning prayer. For those who pray the daily office regularly, this psalm becomes part of your bones, but it can also kind of become part of the furniture. With any passage you know by heart, there comes a point that you kind of stop hearing what it says. So sometimes, when a passage or a prayer becomes too rote, I find it helpful to paraphrase it into my own words in an effort tore-listen to it with beginner ears. Here's what I came up with today for Psalm 100:
Be joyful, everyone! Come into worship - into God's presence - singing your favorite song! Let's serve God gratefully in everything that we do.
Because, Jesus, who reveals God to us, provides sustenance like a shepherd by leading us to good pasture, and tells us with love that we are his.
When you come into worship, have grateful hearts, and praise God for all God's amazing works. God is more than just a vague concept, so get to know God so you can thank God by name.
Through all kinds of weather, God is good and always full of compassion. God's faith in us and our faith in God endures from generation to generation.
If I were to do a paraphrase of Psalm 100 tomorrow, it would be different than this one. Scripture hits my ear and heart differently every day. That's why it's called the 'Word of God.' It's God talking to us afresh every day. It is not unusual to notice something really different in a familiar passage for the first time, even if you've read it hundreds of times before, so it's really important to endeavor to have beginner ears each time we approach Scripture.
You can also do the same thing with familiar prayers - try putting the Lord's prayer into your own words, for instance - or the prayer of humble access that we say at the start of the Sunday service each week - or the creed. What are your beginning ears able to pick up that is new? What do you hear God saying to you through these familiar but generations-deep words today?
Note that during the season after Pentecost, which begins this Sunday, we will be using the "Track 2" readings in our Sunday services.