Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. - Psalm 100:1 (NRSV)
"Do you make that much noise when you're by yourself?" my daughter asked me as we worked independently in the same room together. Until she'd asked, I wasn't aware of all the random sounds falling out of my mouth and emerging from my fidgeting hands while concentrating. A few days later, working alone in my room I texted her, "Apparently I do!"
The psalmist seems to be inviting us into something I've only recently discovered. Unlike the absent-minded and annoying noises that occur when I complete tedious tasks, I've noticed my noises are more pleasant when I'm engaged in things that actually feed my joy.
Now I can't help but wonder if this directive is less about making noises that others find pleasing, and more about a call for us to boisterously pursue and do the things that bring us joy. Surely "all the earth" is equipped with a beautifully diverse capacity to make noise that's joyful.
Maybe for you that's producing noise with an instrument or your vocal cords. It could also be the sounds that involuntarily escape your body in the throes of passion. Perhaps it's the steady hum of a sewing machine or the click of knitting needles as you fashion your next creation or the rasp of a pencil traipsing across an empty page.
Whatever noises accompany the activities that bring you the greatest joy, make them!
Encourage us to experience the things that bring you and us joy, extravagant God. Entice us to choose delight, contentment, and pleasure. Embolden us to be noisy about it too. Amen.
Small Group Discussion
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Founder/Director of Salus Center (the first LGBTQ Resource & Community Center in Lansing, MI) and Pastor of Salus Center UCC & First Congregational UCC - Ypsilanti. They are a parent, speaker, writer, transitional coach, designer, and low-key fashion head.