How To Prepare For Worship
A Psalm of thanksgiving.
1 Shout for joy to YHWH, all you lands!
2 Serve YHWH, with gladness.
Come before his presence with singing.
3 Know that YHWH, he is God.
It is he who has made us, and we are his.
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, and bless his name.
5 For YHWH, is good.
His loving kindness endures forever,
his faithfulness to all generations.
World English Bible
How do you prepare for worship on Sunday? How do you focus your attitude for Mass?
Sunday worship can fall into a rut. It can become just part of the ritual we have that defines one week from the next. But, should our encounter with God be a forgettable event? Shouldn't we prepare our minds and hearts for worship?
Psalm 100 was a call to worship. Actually, it was two calls to worship: 100:1-3 was a general call outside the Temple walls onto the outer courtyard, while 100:4-5 was a call to worship inside the Temple and a preparation for a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
100:1-3 was a call to joy. The leader would cry out to those in the Temple court, including those righteous Gentiles who came on pilgrimage to worship YHWH (these non-Jews represented "all you lands" in 100:1b). 100:1b-2 was a three-time exhortation for celebration. 100:3 explained the reason for the joy; YHWH was the creator of not only all people, he formed a unique people to be his own.
100:4-5 was a call to thanksgiving. These verses could have been the shout made at the thanksgiving sacrifice, a full immolation of a male farm animal or bird on the Temple altar. The act of worship blessed the name of YHWH (and, thus, invoked his power); the blessing reminded the worshiping audience of YHWH's covenant with his people (expressed as "love" and "faithfulness.")
The two parts of Psalm 100 reminds us that joy and thanksgiving are the proper attitudes for worship. We are to be happy when we present ourselves to God. We are to be thankful when we are in his presence. Other attitudes are possible (sorrow, need, intercession, surrender, peace, etc.) but joy and thanksgiving should be our primary focus.
The Lord is here. Be happy and give him thanks.
This Sunday, focus on your attitude before worship. Take the time to clear away distractions and prepare your heart to truly receive the Lord with joy.