Pope John XXIII was the so-called “Caretaker Pope” who convened Vatican II. He used this week’s psalm to call the church to the task of what he called “aggiornamento.” Roughly translated, “bringing up to date with a new song.” Who can read Psalm 98 and not hear the same call?
We at Epiphany don’t look to anyone else to do our singing for us. We don’t need no stinkin’ choir, man. We are the choir! So we can resonate more than most modern Christians when the psalmist bids us to “shout with joy” before God, to sing to the Lord with the piano, the violin, the guitar, the ukulele, and the dulcimer.” Okay, we took some liberties there, but you get the idea. And so do Caleb, and Esther, and Father Wells, and Tom, and Amanda, and Adrian, and Jean.
Psalm 98 is one of a group generally referred to as “enthronement psalms,” because they celebrate the kingship of Yahweh. And Psalm 98 is another that gives active voice to the so-called “inanimate” objects on the earth: “Let the rivers clap their hands, and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord.”