1 John 4:7-21
“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love — so you can’t know God if you don’t love.” God is not dead. God does exist. God is not far away and unreachable. God is love — here and now. God is love. Right now. God is love. Right here. Could there be a better reason to make a joyful noise?
“My dear, dear friends,” Scripture continues, “if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and God’s love becomes complete in us — perfect love!” So I ask: Could there be a better reason to make a joyful noise?
More from 1 John: “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house . . . ” Could there be a better reason to make a joyful noise?
I have always been thankful that singing well was not a requirement for ordination, because my life would look very different. I have admired clergy who have added to the choir rather than, like me, detract from it. I love music and I love to dance and I think if I could sing well I may have followed another path in life. Maybe we’re not given certain gifts just so we don’t get lost.
I love Psalm 100 because we are precisely invited to make a joyful noise. I love that. A joyful noise can be so many things — drums, kazoos, off pitch voices, laughter, holy chaos of chatter. Psalm 100 is asking us to serve God with gladness and to come into God’s presence with singing. We are called to be joyful and gather into community with joyful hearts bursting with thanksgiving and love even in spite of the ills of the world that infringe on us daily.
The words from 1 John today give us cause to do so, because God so loved us first, and last, and always. I’m keeping this brief today so that we can continue to make a joyful noise knowing that God is with us in this moment and takes great pleasure at our joyfulness. I invite you to turn and greet your neighbors before we continue our hymn singing. Please especially greet a visitor or someone you may not know. Go to it.