“Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.”
I have always enjoyed reading Psalm 100 aloud. This amazing psalm of thanksgiving and praise always fills my heart with singing! Following a pilgrimage with Bishop Ward, fellow Cabinet members, and pastors participating in Residency in Ordained Ministry, to the southern border in McAllen, Texas, this psalm now brings to my memory a young woman, Maria.
I met Maria when our group shared in worship and fellowship at Colonia Los Naranjos Mission. It was a chilly Thursday night as we gathered on the porch of the house church. Maria greeted me with a big smile, holding a small red tambourine.
I am not musical by any sense of the word, BUT, I do enjoy making a “joyful noise!” Maria saw my eyes move to the red tambourine. Her smile widened as she reached down and handed me a big tambourine and said pointing to herself, “Poco inglés.” I responded, “Poco español!”
We laughed as she led me to the front of the porch to join her in leading the singing for worship. It was a glorious time! Indeed, we who gathered did “Worship the Lord with gladness” and drew ourselves into God’s holy presence.
What a beautiful, powerful witness to God’s steadfast love Maria, and all who gathered on that porch offered. The singing, the joy that filled the night air, affirmed for us—indeed affirmed for anyone within hearing distance—that the love of God in Christ Jesus binds us together.
“It is God that made us, and we are God’s.” Thanks be to God!
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
Christians cannot be pessimists.
We must always nourish in our hearts
the fullness of joy.
In the darkest moments,
when persecution is at its worst:
May we try to unite ourselves intimately with Christ, our friend,
and to feel a comfort
that all the joys of the earth do not give—
the joy of feeling ourselves close to you—
it is the deepest joy our hearts can have.
May we find our rest in you, Lord of all joy. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To educate this week:
Try to find ways to host an English as Second Language class.
To cultivate growth this week:
Write letters to immigrants in detention.
To advocate this week:
Build a rapid response network within your congregation and community interest partners.
Linda Taylor is the district superintendent for the Sound District.