1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who 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.
It was a hot, humid late-afternoon. At least it seemed hot and humid to this Northwesterner who was visiting the Midwest that day. On the dock of the municipal lake stood an African-American man of retirement age, holding the rope affixed to a small boat bumping against the tires which lined the sides of the dock. He was clearly waiting.
“What are you fishing for?” I asked.
“Anything that’s biting,” he grinned. ‘We are not very good fishermen, but we just have a good time.”
Soon, from the parking lot came another man, a similarly-aged white fellow. They bantered and spoke like the old friends they clearly were. I watched them start the little motor and putter out until they disappeared behind a point of land. I could hear them talking across the water far out into the lake. It looked like a great deal of fun.
Does God enjoy being with us? Or does he tolerate us? The psalmist would answer this question for us. He invites us into the presence of God with thanksgiving, gladness, and rejoicing. God made us and delights in us. We are the sheep of his pasture, his creatures. God is not tolerating us, enduring us patiently like some paternalistic figure who puts up with us. He delights in us. We are his people. This is a sure thing for God’s steadfast love endures forever. Christ has seen to that on a cross and empty tomb. Rejoice today in the presence of God in your life.