Joyful Praise (13-04-22)
Bible Reading: Luke 19:36-40
As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
I wonder if the authorities have ever had cause to come into a church in the UK that is full of joyful praise, and say to the minister, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples’ for the noise they are making?
When was the last time you got really excited about your worship of God?
I think one of the best places to experience worship in a crowd is in a football stadium during a Premier League or FA Cup match. I find it interesting to compare the worship of twenty-two men in a football stadium with the worship of God in a church. OK, they are not worshipping God in the football stadium, but they certainly know how to demonstrate joyful praise for their chosen team, full of noise, united in voice and singing from a fairly limited range of songs. And they are not always worshipping the winning team!
I have been in a number of worship events with around five thousand people, notably on the Peterborough Showground; they are something else. For me it was the closest I have got to how I imagine the worship in heaven.
And yet, paradoxically, within such a crowd, united in its praise of Jesus, it is possible to find that intimate place of heart-to-heart worship. In the noise of so many people worshipping God, it is still possible to find that quiet place to be alone with Jesus.
As we approach Easter let us not keep quiet in our worship of God, leaving it as Jesus suggested, to the stones to cry out. Let us instead get caught up in the joyful praise of our King who comes in the name of the Lord. Let us do better than the football crowds, for though it will look like the game is over on Good Friday, by Easter Day we will know we are on the winning side and worshipping the winning team.
Lord Jesus, you are worthy of praise and glory and honour and power.
Forgive me when I remain silent, and help me to give you the joyful praise and worship that you are due.
Praise is rising