Fake it until you make it

A few years ago I visited a church that was a little more expressive in their worship than was my typical style. The pastor opened the service by inviting the congregation to speak the words of Psalm 118:24.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

We stood, obediently recited the words of the text and were ready to sit down, allowing the order of the service to continue. But the pastor halted our sitting. “Wait a minute,” he said. “Did you listen to what you just said? ‘This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.’ You don’t look glad. Are you glad? If you were glad, you’d be smiling and bouncing,” he said as he was smiling and bouncing. “Let’s try saying it again, only this time believe it. Let me see some smiles on your faces. Come on, show me some glad.”

Checked by his kindly reproof, I said the words again, this time smiling and looking around at the other smiling faces; nodding in agreement with my brothers and sisters. This indeed was a day made for us by God. We were happy and sharing in it’s goodness. What a difference it made to inhabit the words, not just mimic them. I realized they were meant to be experienced, not just repeated. A dry, isolated repetition became a lively, joyous fellowship as we smiled. The gladness bubbled up and we were definitely glad. As my friends in AA say, sometimes you have to ‘fake it until you make it.’