Why Do We Rejoice?

Much is often said about how modern worship is too peppy or “happy,” that we haven’t given enough attention to the other realities of human existence–  sadness, tragedy, fear and doubt. The Psalms, we are reminded, are comprised of roughly two-thirds lament. And there’s the famous article written by Walter Brueggemann, that giant of an Old Testament scholar, called “The Costly Loss of Lament” and what it means for our worship and our view of our relationship with God when we do not ever “protest.” 

All this is true enough.

But there is also a “costly loss of praise” (There is a journal article by this title by Rolf Jacobson). So, I wonder:

What if part of our discomfort with modern worship’s upbeat “praise songs” is because we have lost the art of rejoicing even in the midst of sorrow?

What if the problem is not just thinly crafted praise songs but an unchallenged faith?

It’s all too easy to make a carricature of praise songs so we can dismiss them as “bubble-gum pop” and then not have to wrestle with the difficult truth that God calls us to praise Him, to rejoice, to celebrate and declare a victory, even while all we see if brokenness and pain.

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Glenn Packiam is one of the associate senior pastors at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the lead pastor of New Life Downtown, a congregation of New Life Church. Glenn earned a Doctorate in Theology and Ministry from Durham University in the UK. He also holds BA in Theological/Historical Studies and Masters in Management from Oral Roberts University, and a Graduate Certificate in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Glenn and his wife, Holly, have four children.