You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
I’m not sure what percentage of humanity is born without rhythm or musical aptitude, but I fall among their ranks. Sure, I like music, and I suppose I appreciate groovy dance moves. Just don’t ask me to join in, because it won’t go well. Again, I’m not alone in these limitations, and you know who you are! What is more remarkable, however, is that music and dance exist in virtually every culture, all over the world, and throughout history. Like David, who lived 3,000 years ago and spoke a language unfamiliar to most of us, people use their creativity to express emotions and to share with others the most profound experiences of life. God built creativity into human hearts and minds, and when we use it, we reflect the image of our Creator. Your gift may not be music or dance, but we each have special ways to express our feelings that flow from that God-given creative spark.
David played an ancient stringed instrument like a harp, he sang, he wrote poetry, he danced. And he used each of these gifts to praise God and to lead others into worship. The Psalms are filled with images of God’s people offering up inspired demonstrations of thanksgiving and celebration, and each Psalm is a work of art. David’s songs of praise touch on a myriad of emotions, spiritual experiences and reasons to glorify God’s name. He even used his creativity to give voice to the darker moments of life, like grief, anxiety and depression, but it was his love for God that inspired David’s most beautiful, heart-felt poetry. When he remembered God’s goodness, he burst into “joyful dancing.” He sang praise to his Lord and felt such strong spiritual emotion that he could “not be silent.”
At its best, that’s what our worship should be like. Inspired, unashamed outpourings of devotion and love for God. You don’t have to sing well or dance perfectly. You don’t have to lead the congregation or create something worthy of a museum. As far as we know, the angels don’t give out heavenly Oscars to celebrate only the most talented worshippers. God is pleased with every genuine, creative expression of love that we lift up. So, when you have joy in your heart, let it out. When you are burdened with sorrow, share it with God. When you feel gratitude, give thanks to the Lord. We can worship together in the church, joining our voices and hearts in unified praise, and we can worship privately, just for God to receive. With David and all God’s people, we will give thanks forever to our great and glorious Lord.
Lord, You created all things and gave me the ability to join in Your creative work. I praise You for all that You are and all that You do for me. May Your Spirit inspire my praise and use me to bring glory to the name of Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian