Sing to the LORD a new song;
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation
from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the LORD,
and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
— PSALM 96:1-6 (NASB)
As I think about the opening verse of Psalm 96, I keep being drawn to verse three, “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.” This declares that the praise of God should be public and reach into every corner of the Earth. So, not only are we to “Sing to the Lord a new song,” but we are to sing it in new places as well. This brings to mind a video I first saw about eight years ago. It takes place in Macy’s in Philadelphia during the Christmas shopping season. The organ is playing in the background when suddenly the opening bars of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah ring out and choirs that have gathered from all over the local area start singing, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah …” They called it a random act of culture, but I think it is much more than that. I think it is an example of proclaiming the works of God in the marketplace, and I find that hearing the majestic words, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. . .” proclaimed in the center of the everyday world moves me deeply.
The question then seems to be, just how do we “Declare his glory among the nations”? To be clear, I am not saying we should all randomly sing some portion of Handel’s Messiah in a retail store, nor am I suggesting that we should become that person at work that is constantly trying (sometimes painfully) to turn every conversation to religion. However, I do think that there are a multitude of ways that we could declare God’s glory. We could spend some of our time caring for the poor, the refugees, and the marginalized. Perhaps we could be part of working for justice in the world as a Christian. Perhaps, it might be as simple as demonstrating God’s love to your neighbors. The possibilities are vast; all that is necessary is that we are willing to do so. Perhaps a good starting point would be to ask God to show you where he is moving in your current context and then ask him if and how you should be a part.