Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
There is no doubt that the Book of Psalms contains scripture that would have originally been sung. And many biblical scholars agree that the Book of Psalms would have been a hymn book of sorts for the early Christians. We may no longer know the tune that would have accompanied these words originally, but many musicians have set their own tunes to these psalms.
Psalm 150 is just such a psalm. In this Psalm, unlike some others, we are not given a list of reasons for why God is worthy of praise. In this psalm, the writer worships God for no other reason than God is mighty and is great. And the writer wants others to participate in this boisterous praise with many loud instruments and voices.
Worship is meant to be something holistic. We do not only worship with our words or with our minds, but we worship with our whole beings — with movement, with the beauty of music, and even with our very breath. Scripture often uses the phrase “joyful noise” in reference to praising God. This may mean singing or playing instruments, but it also may be referring to other noise like shouting and clapping. Maybe even laughter and the sound of joy is an act of worship! Not all of us are musicians, but all of us have praise to share, and we can all at least make a joyful noise.
Music is often able to speak in ways that words alone cannot. James Waltner says in his commentary on the Psalms, “Music offers an experience of God, not an explanation of God. When words run out, music keeps going. By participating in the very act of creation, or making music, we discover another way to approach the one in whom we live and move and have our being.” So as we worship together on All Music Sunday - may our music join those of all creation in order to make a joyful noise before our God who alone is worthy of our boisterous praise.