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Psalm 100

The last Sunday of the Christian Year is titled Reign of Christ the King in the Revised Common Lectionary. In terms of Christ’s Church, this is recent history having been created in 1925 on the last Sunday in October. Then in 1970, it was moved to the last Sunday of the year. In his November 26, 2017 sermon titled, “Reign of Christ the King,” Dan Carmichael explains: Psalms 93-100 comprise a small collection of psalms called the Homage Psalms.[i] They refer to the reign and rule of Yahweh over his people. Of course, those people were the Israelites in the Old Testament and is the Church from the Pentecost going forward.

J.J.S. Perowne terms these the Jehovah is King psalms with Psalm 100 being the doxology of the series.[ii] How apropos! What most Christians today sing as The Doxology is based on this psalm, as well as William Kethe’s All People That on Earth Do Dwell. It first appeared in the 1650 Scottish Metrical Psalter[iii] and is known as simply the Old Hundredth since it mirrors Psalm 100. Both songs share the music composed by Louis Bourgeois. His familiar tune was first published in 1655.[iv]

Psalm 100 was first used by Israel in a thanksgiving service. As the people took their Thank Offerings to sacrifice in the Temple, they sang this thanksgiving song. Leviticus stipulates the meat of the Thank Offering must be eaten on the same day it is offered. I find it difficult to read about the Old Testament sacrificial system without thinking about the smell of tailgating. And I live in Kansas City where we do not simply eat barbeque, we brag on barbeque.

In verse 1, the New Living Translation (NLT) urges us to ‘Shout with joy’ and to ‘sing with joy.’ It invites us to enter worship ‘with thanksgiving’ and to ‘Give thanks’ to Our King. Ben Patterson gives us something to ponder and the act on:

If gratitude and joy are spontaneous, why are they commanded? Shouldn’t they just spring up in people who are awake to the goodness of God? The truth is, gratitude and joy are often what wake us up. They are choices. Remember: Gratitude and joy are organs of perception; we don’t see in order to give thanks and rejoice, we give thanks and rejoice in order to see. Do you see no reason to be joyful and grateful? Rejoice and give thanks so you wi