All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.
The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.
O enter then His gates with praise;
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His Name always,
For it is seemly so to do.
For why? the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.
To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
The God Whom Heaven and earth adore,
From men and from the angel host
Be praise and glory evermore.
Words by William Kethe, 1561
Music by Louis Bourgeois, 1551
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
1 Peter 3:8
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
The earth is a pretty big place. 7.3 billion people by the latest count. It breaks down to 32% Christian, 23% muslim, 14% Hindu, 7% Buddhist, 12% other faiths, 10% non-religious and 2% atheists. All these people worshiping who they believe to be God, or choosing to live without a god. It can seem a pretty sad state of affairs if you look at it. All these people looking different direction for hope, for a purpose. Different directions, that do not, can not, meet at a common place. This is what led John Lennon to write, “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky . . . and no religion, too.” With all the difference, maybe it would be easier if there were none of these separations. But this is not the only option. What if rather than no faith, all our voices were joined together in worship of the one true God? This is the image that is presented in William Kethe’s hymn, “All People That On Earth Do Dwell.”
He sets out to present a restating of Psalm 100. The hymn begins with the words, “All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice. Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell; Come ye before Him and rejoice.” Imagine the picture with me for a minute. Imagine every person on earth singing praises to God. Imagine every person on earth living their life in service to God, a God whom James tells us in 1:27 sees, “Pure and undefiled religion [as] . . . this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress . . .” A God who Paul tells us to follow the example of “look[ing] out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” in Philippians 2:4.
This is an incredible image of what Peter calls us to in 1 Peter 3:8 when he writes, “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” Imagine a world where we live out our faith in Christ by caring from one another. Where we don’t get caught up in our petty differences, where we don’t spend our time arguing and fighting with one another. Instead a world were we always put others needs and feeling ahead of our own. It is a beautiful image of the world we will one day live in, but it is not the world of today. Instead, we can only seek to live this life today, looking to the future when all of us who are believers in Christ will live in such a world.
The hymn continues, “The Lord, ye know, is God indeed.” This is the challenge, for us to be of one mind, we must agree on this point. This point, that divides so many. “Know that the Lord Himself is God.” (Psalm 100:3) He is the maker and sustainer of the world. It is from Him that we receive all that we need. For those of us who have realized and accepted this truth we can “enter then His gates with praise; Approach with joy His courts unto.” We can find peace in knowing that “His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:6)
God is faithful and those who have put their faith in him can trust in this. Yes the world seems divided today. We may at times, find ourselves wondering where God is in the midst of everything. But we can know that He is there. As Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” God wants all to come to faith, but we must make that choice. When we do, we can look forward to the day we imagine. Until then we continue glorify Him, knowing that “To Father, Son and Holy Ghost . . . Be praise and glory evermore.”
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