Message by Rev. Scott W. Cousineau
Okay everyone … it is time for
Pastor Scott’s weekly sermon survey!
How many of you have Tik Tok
Anyone? No one?
I suspect that a couple of you in
our virtual congregation have Tik Tok accounts. Am I right?
Full disclosure here … perhaps this
will help … I have a Tik Tok account. Yes, I do. I have twelve whole followers,
which is a mystery to me because I have posted a total of three videos. Update:
FOUR videos! I made one yesterday … fifteen seconds of Bain playing fetch!
I created a Tik Tok account a little
over a year ago because I saw some cute videos of puppies and people dancing. I
thought this would be a fun distraction during the pandemic. Then I thought,
‘this might be a good way to attract people to the church!’
I have twelve followers and posted
three … oops … four videos. I am not exactly attracting droves of people.
However, what I have noticed over
the last year, or so, is that Tik Tok is NOT just videos of cute puppies,
kittens and people dancing. Yes … those videos are there, but it seems as
though Tik Tok is the medium that people use to complain about their neighbors,
or post about their road rage, or their interactions with entitled “Karens” or
I keep trying to change the
algorithm, I click like on puppy videos and bird videos. I click like on
elephants painting and cats playing with bubbles. I click on the videos of
people being kind to one another, and still my feed is filled with people being
mean and nasty to one another.
It occurred to me that there must be
a certain kind of person that derives some pleasure from posting videos of the
meanness in the world. And then it also occurred to me that it also gives
people a way to blow off some steam, or perhaps inspire others to be better and
And then it also occurred to me that
I have only made four little videos. I have not added any positive content to
the Tik Tok universe to help tip the algorithm.
I created the account as a
distraction from the stress of the world, and I ended up seeing more pain and
anger than I ever imagined. So, I scroll … scroll … scroll …
Unfortunately, in our lives and in
our world today, we cannot scroll … scroll … scroll … until we get to something
cute or funny. We have to live in this moment. However, what we can do, what we
can change, what we can control is our spirit or our energy in each moment. We
can approach each moment with … joy.
“Easier said than done, pastor.” I
I was talking with friends on Friday,
and I brought up this message for this morning. We talked about making a joyful
noise even when we are in the midst of difficulty. It is much easier to turn to
God and say, “Really, God?! Another trial?! Another struggle?! How long will
this one last?! How will I make it through?!”
The reality is that we live in an
instant gratification world. We want what we want, and we want it now. We want
quick and easy resolutions to our problems. I sit in my office listening to
motorists honk their horns all day because the person in front of them is too
slow to react to the green light!
We get upset when we want to watch a
movie, or a video, and our phone or computer has that little spinning
I get upset when I break a shoelace!
Most of the struggles that we face
do not end when the light turns green or with a quick trip to Walgreen’s to
pick up a multi-pack of shoelaces.
An aging or ailing parent that needs
our care …
A divisive and corrosive political
Gender inequity …
Systemic racism …
Rights, protection and recognition
of the LGBTQ+ community …
Climate change and environmental
Are all burdens upon our hearts, and
lives, and community that will not be solved quickly or easily. They are
important and meaningful challenges that we face today, and will likely take
another generation to address. But that does not mean that we should be
discouraged. That does not mean that we cannot live joyfully.
In fact, it is all the more reason
that we should live joyfully!
Let us look at the psalm for today.
The ancient Hebrews did not exactly live lives of leisure, relaxing by the pool
sipping adult beverages. Their lives, their history were hard and difficult.
The psalm was written as a worship song, a processional. It was a song that
offered thanks and praise to God.
“Make a joyful noise!”
The psalm was one that was used as
people were about to make their offerings to God. “Make a joyful noise!”
The psalm reminded them of the care
and providence of God. It reminded them that they were once prisoners, slaves
in Egypt, but God watched over them. God led them to freedom. God made the sea
dry, and they were able to escape pharaoh’s army.
wandered in the desert for a generation, but God cared for them in the
wilderness. Then God made the river dry as they crossed into the Promised Land.
foreign armies attacked and conquered … God was faithful.
they were taken away into exile again … God remained faithful.
were all generational struggles. These were not quick fix challenges. These
were extreme hardships … and yet, the people were able to sing with joy.
are faithful, O God! Your deeds are amazing … awesome! We sing your praise!”
are so awesome and amazing, O God, that even our enemies will fall to their
knees! The whole world will sing your praise!!”
saw the larger picture … the long view … and they understood their place as
God’s Beloved Children. Even when they were experiencing hardship, they knew
that God was with them. They had known occupation, they had known exile, they
had known oppression, they had known slavery. But they had also known victory
in God. They had known freedom in God. They had known deliverance in God. They
knew that God had made a way for them.
miracles that the psalmist referenced in the song were more than awesome acts
of power, they were gifts of life! The gift of freedom is life. The Greek
version of this psalm refers to it as a Psalm of Resurrection! And the proper
response is gratitude, praise and joy!
that is where we come in. The psalm is a song of gratitude and praise, but
there is also an evangelical component to it. Yes … evangelical. I know that it
can be a scary word.
joy that we feel is a joy that we should share. It should be something that the
world can see.
should not walk through the world with grim and downcast faces. We do not want
to be seen as the unhappy faithful, Dour Devoted, or the Frozen Chosen. We do
not want to be people that watched the beginning of “Footloose,” but never got
to the end of the movie.
should sing with joy! Live with joy!
people see us, encounter us, interact with us they should say, “Why are they so
joyful? With what is happening in the world around us … with all of our
troubles … how can they have so much joy?”
our response is: Because of God. We are filled with joy because we live in
God’s peace. We know that God will provide.
we should not keep silent about it. Human beings are not meant to keep silent.
We are not meant to keep our praise of God pent up in our hearts or tucked away
in some closet of our souls. We are called to shout, sing with joy!
we get a new car, what do we do? We show it off!
we get a new outfit … we show it off!
we go on vacation … we show it off!
show off our backyards, our gardens, our dinners! The selfie has given us a
whole new way to show off. We tell the whole world about our lives.
us show off our God! Let us proclaim God’s goodness. Let us dwell joyfully
because we live in God’s peace.
we make a joyful noise, we fight back against the powers of evil.
we make a joyful noise, our spirits are lifted … we feel better.
we make a joyful noise, we also help others to see how great God is!
and see what God has done! Come and see how awesome God is!”
is great! God is steadfast and faithful! God has done amazing things and God
will continue to do amazing things! Let us share this with all the world. Make
a joyful noise! Amen.
Congregational ChurchUCC, SACO MAINE12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072207-283-3771