Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the LORD,
for God comes to judge the earth.
God will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
- Psalm 98:7-9 (NIV)
It can be hard to be joyful in these days. Don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into a litany of evils. You could supply such a list all on your own—troubles both public and private, enough to send a person diving headfirst back under their warm blankets.
But we who worship God have reason to greet the morning with joy. Because God is coming to judge the world.
God is a just judge, who knows what is truth and what is a lie. God is a righteous judge, who does not mistake the fragility of those afraid of losing privilege for the vulnerability of the oppressed. God is an equitable judge, who will see to it that everyone has enough and no one has too much.
I don’t know when that day will come. No one does. But I know something important about it. I know that on the day of the Lord, even the seas and rivers and mountains will celebrate. And if the seas and rivers and mountains can celebrate (despite the notable impediment of not being alive), then surely I can bound out from underneath warm blankets and face this day. Because this very morning, the Day of the Lord is one day closer than ever before.
Righteous God, return to your people. And may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.