Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!

Praise befits the upright.

Psalm 33: 1

 

There is a lot of shouting going on these days, and very little of it is spoken in praise of God. In fact, when God is evoked, it is often in some form of negative manner in which either His wrath or His irrelevance is the subject of the ideas put forth. Make no mistake about it, I believe that words are powerful tools; they are the wrenches and rulers, the drivers and the mallets that fill my writer’s war chest. Words lift up and at other times they scrape the soil from under the feet. There is power in them. People are moved to take certain actions by the careful application of language. Mothers console with expressions of love and comfort, and the Father counsels us with His powerful words of truth and righteousness. The volume and the emphasis that we put behind the delivery of our language add the element of emotion and serve to personalize the lexical statements that we utter.

 

So, when it comes to making a sincerely loud noise in our world with our words, it seems to me that the ones that should come out first and with the greatest clarity are the ones that sing forth God’s nature, character, and engagement with our lives. In my experience, the Lord is the source of true joy in my days, strength for the journey, and peace in the course of its progress. God brings forth life where nothing more than a dry expanse of wasteland existed before His presence. Through Christ we are redeemed from a life of servitude to the oppressive forces of this world and to their false promises of safety and security, and in Christ we can live in the valid security of our souls and the safety for our hearts that comes only by and through His loving grace and mercy.

 

This does not mean that I think that followers of Christ should not be speaking out in favor of justice, peacemaking, and the extension of grace and mercy to people in our world, for I hold that doing these things is a God-mandated aspect of living as citizens of His kingdom come on earth. What I am saying is that the nature and the tone of our expressions should reflect the character and the person of our Lord. In Christ, all that we do and everything that we say is directly connected to Him, and all that we set forth in our days needs to be sourced from that relationship. If it is true for me and for you that Christ is the source of the joy in our lives, then everything that we place before the eyes of our world can be prefaced and framed in the context of that joy and related to its source. Thus, each statement that we make can be an expression of the Gospel of Christ and so a message of hope that can cut through the noise of this troubled world.