Sing to God, Just Because!

Psalm 33:1-3

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright. Praise the LORD with the lyre,
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song,
play skilfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

During the murderous Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, a party official boasted that “In the old days, children played games in the streets and the people wasted time celebrating holidays and feasts.  Now everybody works all the time!”  It is the unwitting curse of fanatics that they don’t realize how blackly funny they are.  The man who said this actually thought he was offering evidence of a great achievement for the glorious Khmer Rouge maniacs.  The idea that play and celebration were good and human things–things far more human than the slaughterhouse and concentration camp they had made Cambodia—never occurred to him.  But in the kingdom of God, music, song, dance, praise, play, joy (suffusing even our work) are the life’s blood of our communion with God.  The very origin of the word “holiday” is “Holy Day”.  This playful and joyous approach to life is one of the things that marks the Judeo-Christian worldview in distinction to the ruthless, sleepless, unsmiling concentration on “work making freedom” that has characterized the monstrous regimes of the 20th century.  Today, celebrate God with a little song and silliness precisely because it has no utilitarian value—-only eternal worth.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage