Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.Psalm 95:2 (NLT)
“What is wrong with these people?! It’s like they’re dead.” This was a phrase that was uttered to me on the front row of a church that I was guest-preaching in. It was my first time there, and I had no idea who the woman was that was muttering such things other than the fact that she had just finished being the chorister in front of a church who refused to sing. It was obvious she was frustrated that the thirty or so people gathered (in a church building that could easily seat 200) couldn’t muster enough volume to be heard. I looked over at this woman as she boiled in her seat. She was angry – on the verge of screaming angry. It wasn’t a great introduction to this particular church family.
At the conclusion of the service, I was able to speak with a few people, and came to the conclusion that most in the church were coming for the social aspect, not really to worship. They complained about the lack-luster song service. They complained about their pastor and his preaching style. They complained that the youth had left their church. They complained about everything except potluck. They enjoyed potluck. So, essentially, they were thankful for food.
In contrast, we have King David telling us that we should come together, “with thanksgiving.” Notice it’s not “for Thanksgiving.” (That holiday wouldn’t be invented until a couple thousand years later. Plus, David wasn’t American.) In other words, we are supposed to gather together to give thanks, or praise to God. He alone is the reason we are to come together. Yes, the social stuff is nice, and important in building community, but if Jesus is not the focal point in everything we do as a church, then we are just a social club and should drop the word Christian from our signs, bulletins, and other materials.
The second part of King David’s guidance is to sing “psalms of praise to him.” In other words, song service shouldn’t be a time to be talking with your pew-mate, it is a time to offer thanksgiving to God. Regardless of whether or not you particularly like the song (since when is singing praise about us), you can still sing it to the glory of God.
So, when you gather together this weekend, belt out the praises to God. Be thankful for who He is, what He has done, and what He promises to do. Join together with thanksgiving.
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