Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mirth or fear?


All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice,
Him serve with mirth, his praise forth tell,
Come ye before him and rejoice.

The venerable Scottish Psalter paraphrased Psalm 100 that way. It is true to the meaning of the Hebrew.

My modern hymnal changed it:

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.

"Mirth" was changed to "fear." "Him serve [not with mirth but] with fear." There is no depth of perdition low enough for editors who corrupt the Psalter, the Bible and the gospel. Should we serve the Lord with fear? Yes. But that is not what Psalm 100 says. And the Bible should be allowed to speak for itself. We have no right to replace one good thing with even another good thing, if the Bible is authoritative over us.

Why do we do things like that? We don't trust God. We think we know better. We fear joy. We fear the authority of joy, the take-over of joy. We fear loss of control, loss of face. We are deeply self-exalting.

Every elder board needs to set aside one hour at least to discuss this question: "How can we at our church serve the Lord with more mirth -- in a non-weird way?"

Reformed churches belong to a revival tradition. Let's get back in touch with our spiritual roots, or joy will die. We have no right to let that happen on our watch.