Psalm 98: Joy!

Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

November 25, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98. If it sounds familiar as you read it today, no wonder. It looks like Mr.98 might have peeked and copied from Ms. 96 whose verses we read yesterday!🤗

Still, there are some new lovely thoughts to consider this morning as we pray just one month from Christmas. The psalm’s melodic, celebratory tone offers a welcome contrast to the other two rather daunting readings today.

Psalm 98 describes God’s redemption of Israel and the rejoicing that will ensue. It also features many expressions and instruments of music and song. The psalm’s exultant and joyful character inspired Sir Isaac Watts, in 1719, to compose an interpretation we all love: Joy to World. Watts’s poem was set to the music of George Frideric Handel.

Although this glorious song is normally preserved for Christmas, it describes the condition of grace we actually live within every day. Christ already has come into time, already has been born in our hearts.

Our liturgical year is a commemoration and celebration of a salvation already achieved.

So let’s have a bit of early Christmas today. Let’s reach for the full joy of our “Christing” by praying Psalm 98 as Isaac Watts prayed it.

Joy to the World; the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields & floods, rocks, hills & plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love.

Today is a good day, as we are about to begin our Advent journey this Sunday, to remind ourselves of exactly where that journey takes us – to the humble center of our hearts where, in every moment, God desires to take flesh for the world.


Poetry: Into the Darkest Hour by Madeleine L’Engle

It was a time like this,
War & tumult of war,
a horror in the air.

Hungry yawned the abyss-
and yet there came the star
and the child most wonderfully there.

It was time like this
of fear & lust for power,
license & greed and blight-

and yet the Prince of bliss
came into the darkest hour
in quiet & silent light.

And in a time like this
how celebrate his birth
when all things fall apart?

Ah! Wonderful it is
with no room on the earth
the stable is our heart.

Music: John Rutter – The Falcon – first movement based on Psalm 98

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