Psalm 96

 1Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

7Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
8Ascribe to the LORD, the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts!
9Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!

10Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
Yes the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
  12let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
  13before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Tell of His Salvation from Day to Day

Who has had to read William Shakespeare out loud in a class? He is a paragon of culture, theater, and literature but also to 21st century ears and mouths, quite ornamental. Or perhaps it’s the poetry of Emily Dickinson to which it is hard to relate.

When I read Psalm 96, it feels so big, ornamental, and grandiose. It is so full of joy and energy. It reminds me of the Mass Events at National Youth Gatherings. The Mass Events are joyous and energetic and a phenomenal way to connect us to the body of Christ. As people travel home from each National Youth Gathering my hope is they do more than simply remember this one grandiose experience that happens every three years, but rather that participants find an appreciation for all of the things God is doing in their daily lives and through their vocations.

Interestingly, Psalm 96 is recorded nearly in its entirety in another place in the Bible, in 1 Chronicles 16:23-33. In the context of 1 Chronicles, David writes these words in response to something big and grandiose. The ark of the covenant, the place where God is present among His people, has just been brought to Jerusalem. David prepares a tent for the ark of the covenant to be housed in and prepares musicians to sing and play music in worship before the ark of the covenant in God’s presence day after day.

In Psalm 96:2, we hear “tell of his salvation from day to day.” Psalm 96 is big and grandiose. It is filled with flowery, beautiful, poetic language. And yet it calls on us to tell of God’s salvation from day to day, to daily share what God has done for us. It’s not always easy to connect the big and grandiose to the small and routine. Yet, God is present in both the big and the small, in the grandiose and in the ordinary.

In Baptism, through His Word, God is present in ordinary water to create something grandiose. In the Lord’s Supper, through His Word, God is present in ordinary bread and wine to create something extraordinary. Jesus’ presence in these sacraments turns ordinary things into the most precious gifts that provide us with forgiveness, life, and salvation. We treasure these every day, remembering our baptisms, remembering Christ’s presence with us in His Word and Sacraments.

While God calls us to different vocations in our lives, Psalm 96 is a reminder that in all things, big and small, we can declare God’s glory. It may not be your calling to travel across oceans to share the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. But consider how can you declare God’s glory in your day-to-day vocations with your friends, family, classmates, and teachers. As we believe God is truly in our lives, we take to heart Psalm 96 and the call to declare God’s glory from day to day, knowing that He goes with us and before us wherever He may send us.

What is your favorite part of National Youth Gatherings? Why is it your favorite?

Dear Jesus, thank you for being a real presence in our daily lives both in the big moments and the small moments. Help us to recognize opportunities to share Your presence in our day-to-day lives. Amen.

Identify a small detail in God’s glorious creation that gives you joy.
Identify a big moment in God’s creation that gives you joy.