Joyful Praise (29-03-21)
Bible Reading: Luke 19:29-31, 35-40
As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' say, 'The Lord needs it.'"
They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it and put Jesus on it.
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."
Apart from meeting up with our biological family, what I have missed most during twelve months of lockdown has been gathering in church as the family of God, to worship together and to have fellowship with one another. There is something inspiring and uplifting about singing some of the great hymns and songs of praise in the company of God’s people.
As we approach Easter, the greatest celebration in the Christian calendar, with the prospect of gathering together, but without congregational singing, it is as if Covid has managed to do what the Pharisees failed to do as Jesus approached Jerusalem, stopping the crowd singing joyfully together in praise of God.
And yet, in spite of the restrictions on congregational singing, God is still worshipped; as Jesus said of his followers, "I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." The whole of creation worships God, the new life we see bursting out around us glorifies our creator and we can join in with their joyful hymn of praise.
We may not be able to lift our voices together to praise God this Easter time, but we can meet together safely in our churches, we can worship God in our hearts, and we can join with the joyful praise of creation in our gardens and in the countryside.
And let us not forget the owners of the colt. Our worship of God in not just about the words we sing, it is about the way we live our lives. St Paul encouraged the Christians in Rome to offer themselves as a living sacrifice, saying that was their true and proper worship (Romans 12:1).
Is there anything that ‘The Lord needs of you’? What might Jesus be asking of you at this time, as a demonstration of your true and proper worship?
Lord Jesus, I lift my heart today in praise of all you have done for me, and offer afresh my life, as a living sacrifice of worship to you.
Jesus is Lord! Creation’s voice proclaims it.