Summary: June 16, 2002 -- FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST -- Proper 6 Psalm 100 Color: Green Title: “Recalling the Presence also teaches us how to approach anything new and especially how to approach people.”
June 16, 2002 -- FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST -- Proper 6
Title: “Recalling the Presence also teaches us how to approach anything new and especially how to approach people.”
All Lands Summoned to Praise God
A Psalm of thanksgiving.
1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
The Heading or Title of this psalm calls it a “psalm of thanksgiving.” It is really an entrance hymn of praise. Since praise and thanksgiving are virtually the same, the distinction is immaterial. This psalm would be sung in procession to the Temple in order to perform a liturgy of thanksgiving for some unspecified benefit from Yahweh. It seems to be an old psalm, using stock formulas of expression regarding Yahweh, but it is not possible to date its composition, given the absence of any historical references. It consists of two sections verses one to three and verses four and five, each of which is a hymn in itself. Perhaps, the first section was sung while approaching from outside and the second while entering through the gates or shortly thereafter. It is placed in the Psalter as the conclusion to Psalms 96-99 honoring Yahweh as King, being part of an even larger collection of liturgical psalms running from Psalm 91 to 99. The dominant note is joy.
“The Old Hundredth” is the popular name of the tune of the hymn based on this psalm, “All People That On Earth Do Dwell,” composed by William Kethe of Scotland, a friend of John Knox the Reformer, in 1560. Actually, it was from an original French composition by Louis Bourgeois, appearing in the French Genevan Psalter in 1551. Both the words and the tune have survived four and a half centuries with little change.
In verse one, “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.” Israelite liturgies were not somber affairs. Just as they would shout acclamations at the king, so, too, they would treat Yahweh.
In verse two, “ Worship the LORD with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.” Worship the Lord: The word translated as “worship” means “serve.” It has a wider range of meaning that liturgical worship. It also means to serve as a slave, to do work for someone else. It was part of long-standing prophetic tradition that authentic liturgical service must be a consistent reflection of and expression of daily moral living and service to the Lord in all matters, liturgical and otherwise.
Come into his presence: It is not exactly correct that we “enter into his presence.” God is already present everywhere. There is no physical place to enter. “Entrance” into God’s presence means we make ourselves aware of what already is. God is already physically present to us. More correctly, we are always physically in his presence. It is when we become aware of that fact and acknowledge it by praise that the difference is evident. The Temple and its gate were physical reminders of his invisible presence, not physical limitations upon it.
With singing: The Israelites did not consider singing in God’s presence to be an option, something they might or might not choose to do, depending upon whether they thought they could sing or not. It expressed the right mood befitting the blessings God bestowed on them. It would be ungrateful of them not to sing.
In verse three, “know”: This does not refer merely to intellectual knowledge. It is acknowledgement, involving a response.
The Lord is God: This was a well-known cultic expression of monotheism, involving a renunciation of all other gods, exhorting “all you lands” to give up idolatry, and a declaration of allegiance to Yahweh alone, the God of the Covenant.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture: There are two senses to this, preserved in variant readings. One is “ he made us and his we are” The Hebrew kere variant followed by RSV, NEB,NAB, for example. The other is “he made us and not ourselves” having the sense that we are not self-made. The Hebrew ketib variant followed by the LXX.
God’s well-tended flock: Both kings and gods were designated as shepherds in nomadic communities. This ancient image stuck and was an especially fond way of referring to Yahweh and his love for his people.