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(Sunday between November 20 and November 26)
Psalm 100

This psalm is a simple call to praise the Lord. It invites the congregation into the presence of God with singing (v. 2). Two important things are established right at the start. First, that
worship is coming into the presence of God. It is, indeed, a gathering of the faithful congregation but it is more than gatherings which are for social reasons of for the purpose of
meetings where decisions have to be made etc. We could also say, and we do need to acknowledge, that God is present on those occasions as well, but worship’s special focus is on the presence of God and all that means for us.

Secondly, the congregation is invited into God’s presence with singing. In the context of this psalm, we are speaking about praise and joy. This has a special place in God’s presence. It
is to acknowledge our allegiance above all else to God who has created us, has called us to be God’s people, those who seek to follow God’s ways (v. 3). A note of caution should be
sounded, however. This call to joyful praise does not define the nature of our only ‘song’ in God’s presence. It does not preclude bringing all the feelings and experiences of life into
God’s presence, particularly those involved with hurt, despair, pain etc. Lament psalms are as much the song to sing in God’s presence as words of praise, and express responses to experiences that are as important to God as those that bring joy. We bring whatever fills our heart into God’s presence.

In the psalms of praise there is always a reason expressed for praise, even if it is fairly general as here in Psalm 100 – God made us, we are God’s people. Praise is never empty, never without reason and never divorced from what we experience in the world. It is important to express praise but never without a context in our lives or that of the community.

This psalm calls for a joyful noise and singing to be made to the Lord in a way similar to the call in Psalm 150 for music making and dancing. Verse 4 invites thanksgiving to the Lord
which is another form of praise. Verse 5 concludes with echoes of other psalms of praise, notably Ps 117:2.

Suggestions for the use of the psalm in worship

The whole psalm or portions of it (e.g. vv. 1-2, vv. 1 and 3 etc.) can be used as a call to worship. The whole psalm would also make a fine prayer of adoration. In either case, the psalm could be led by the person presiding over that part of worship or arranged responsively

In addition, v. 3 can be used as an introduction to the declaration of forgiveness:

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
His steadfast love, seen in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
endures forever, and so I declare to you:
‘Your sins are forgiven!’
Thanks be to God
Clauses from the psalm such as ‘Worship the Lord with gladness’ or ‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving’ could then be used to introduce a doxology after the declaration of forgiveness.

Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

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