The Message, July 3, 2022: "A Joyful Noise!"

The Message, July 3, 2022: "A Joyful Noise!"

Author: Rev. Scott W. Cousineau
July 05, 2022


“A Joyful Noise!”
A Message by Rev. Scott W. Cousineau
Psalm 66:1-9

            Okay everyone … it is time for Pastor Scott’s weekly sermon survey!

            How many of you have Tik Tok accounts?

            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 “Kevins.”

            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 kinder people.

            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 know.

            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 “buffering” message.

            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 system …

            Gender inequity …

            Systemic racism …

            Rights, protection and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community …

            Climate change and environmental protection …

            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.

            They 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.

            When foreign armies attacked and conquered … God was faithful.

            When they were taken away into exile again … God remained faithful.

            These were all generational struggles. These were not quick fix challenges. These were extreme hardships … and yet, the people were able to sing with joy.

            “You are faithful, O God! Your deeds are amazing … awesome! We sing your praise!”

            “You are so awesome and amazing, O God, that even our enemies will fall to their knees! The whole world will sing your praise!!”

            They 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.

            The 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!

            And 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.

            They joy that we feel is a joy that we should share. It should be something that the world can see.

            We 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.

            We should sing with joy! Live with joy!

            When 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?”

            And our response is: Because of God. We are filled with joy because we live in God’s peace. We know that God will provide.

            And 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!

            When we get a new car, what do we do? We show it off!
            When we get a new outfit … we show it off!
            When we go on vacation … we show it off!
            We 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.

            Let us show off our God! Let us proclaim God’s goodness. Let us dwell joyfully because we live in God’s peace.

            When we make a joyful noise, we fight back against the powers of evil.
            When we make a joyful noise, our spirits are lifted … we feel better.
            When we make a joyful noise, we also help others to see how great God is!

            “Come and see what God has done! Come and see how awesome God is!”

            God 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 Church