Most catchphrases or sayings we use have stories behind them; we just don’t often take the time to research those stories. Here is the story behind one saying that near and dear to my heart. One pre-season football camp at Millersville State College back in the 1970s as the team left the campus in the wee hours of the morning on the way to the Marine Corps Base at Quantico to “toughen the team up,” the bus drove past a large cemetery, and as our head coach pointed to the rows and rows of tombstones that looked somewhat eerie though the early morning haze, he looked back at a bus full of “happy campers” and said, “Men, it really is a great day to be alive.” The response, somewhat sarcastically, “Okay, whatever you say Coach”
Every season after that year during the hot and tiring days of pre-season football camp, Coach Carp as we affectionately called him, would walk through the dorms at five o’clock in the morning blowing his whistle and yelling to us, “Men, it’s a great day to be alive.” With sore and tired muscles, and the thought of another full day of practice during the dog days of August, it really didn’t seem like a morning to celebrate and be joyful.
Today, no matter what you are experiencing in life, whether it be the dread of another day of practicing in full football pads in 90 degree weather or the joy of being on a sunny beach with nothing to do except sit under your umbrella and read your favorite book, we want to encourage you to take time to praise God, even if you are not in the praising mood. Maybe Psalm 100 can help you praise God today.
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
The word praise in this psalm comes from the Hebrew word “tehillah,” which means to celebrate (literally translated, laud) someone who is worthy of our praise. God is so worthy of our praise, and celebrations by their very nature are joyous events.
So, today, it is our hope that you can sing Psalm 100 like you really mean it, and as you clap for God and as you offer your “tehillah” to God, we are sure you will begin to feel joy bubble up in you like a natural spring of clear water, and that you will be able to say, “It is a great day to be alive.”
New Bern, North Carolina