What does it take to make you shout?


What does it take to make you shout?

The Cubs winning the World Series. The Cardinals beating the Cubs. He / she says “yes”. All A’s on the report card. A special song playing. Da Bears (or your favorite team). Ice cream. Paying all the bills and having money left over. Getting a job. Retirement. Special occasions. A hole in one. Accomplishing a tough task or achieving a major goal.  These and many more things are reasons to shout.

What does it take to make you shout?

For some it’s a sporting event, for others it is completing a task, and still for others it is beauty found in nature. The list could go on and on. There are many varied reasons to express a shout of joy and thanksgiving.

In a world that seems to be spiraling out of control and moving closer and closer towards the sewer, some folks believe there is very little to shout about. These naysayers point to the increasing presence of evil, the expansion of violence, the growing disparity between the haves and the have nots, racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, intolerance, and the deepening divide among faith communities. All of these and more are cited as reasons to be bitter, cynical, and hopeless.

 It bothers me that a few Christians are in this doom and gloom crowd. Some Christians see no reason to rejoice or to be glad. I do not understand such flawed thinking because I read the back of “the book” and Jesus wins!

I believe that every new day is filled with new reasons to shout and offer thanksgivings unto Almighty God. In my spiritual faith tradition, the old folks would often ask a series of rhetorical questions aimed at helping folks understand that each new day was a reason within itself to offer up praise and thanksgiving. They would ask, “Who woke you up this morning? Who started you on your way? Who can fill you with joy?” The response was sometimes the simple recognition that, “Can’t nobody do me like Jesus.” Jesus is my reason to shout!

Psalm 150:6 encourages us to express praise. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” I am convinced that there is something woven into the fabric of every living creature that yearns to return thanksgiving to Almighty God, our creator, even in the worst of times. Psalm 137 asked the question, “How can we sing the Lord’s songs in a strange land?” The answer is easy, “The Lord is present with us.” That is GOOD NEWS!  The Lord is not confined to geographic boundaries, nor to a specific “holy place,” and certainly not to only one group of people. God is the God of all and cannot be held in captivity even when we refuse to offer praise and thanksgiving.

My message this month is simply an encouragement to take time out from our hectic lives to recognize that we really do have something to shout about. Jesus is worthy of our praise and of our thanksgivings. Take time and offer up shouts of praise!

Bishop Beard