Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD… (1 Chron. 16:32-33a)
Every week in worship, I stand next to Dave. He’s a nice fellow. He lets me make jokes every now and then. If I forget something, he lets me go get it. Dave even gives me the space to prepare for a prayer, sermon, or Table liturgy. All in all, Dave is a pretty good pew partner.
If I had one critique, small as it is, it would be sometimes Dave can sing a bit loud. He’s not screaming the hymns and songs by any means, but sometimes I am not able to hear myself sing because my voice is drowned out by the enthusiasm and fervor of Dave’s raspy tenor. Dave’s passion and rejoicing overpower everything else. I think he’s admitted to this particular personality trait before.
I was never more observant of this than this past Sunday for we heard in scripture about all of Creation giving praise to the LORD. We are supposed to join the seas, the fields, and the trees in singing and rejoicing before God. David’s act of bringing the Ark of the Covenant was the impetus for celebration. A human’s act had ramifications beyond himself; it reached a global scale. It caused creation to sing.
I wonder if we are letting creation sing anymore? Is what we are doing to our world and ourselves stifling the melodies of praise? Are our practices of subjugation of God’s Creation muffling an otherwise gorgeous refrain? Is our refusal to see the ramifications of our practices preventing glorious anthems from reverberating throughout existence?
I’ll admit it, yesterday I did not have the heart to sing many of our hymns and songs. My voice was drowned out not by Dave’s, but by the massacre in Orlando. Instead of songs of praise and rejoicing, the only songs I wanted to sing were ones of lament, grief, and pain. I wanted to mourn with the LBGTQ community.
I’m still mourning, unsure of what to say or think. But I do have a question: if we are unable to let people who are different from us dance and sing, how can we let creation?
Let us try to help people work through their tears of grief and sorrow, so when they are ready, they can sing and dance again. Let us try to work so everything and everyone in God’s good Creation can give thanks to God, and know that “the LORD is good, for God’s steadfast love endures forever.” Let us try to live in a way so the seas, the fields, the trees, and even all people, are able to faithfully sing joyful songs of praise to the LORD.