The Hymn of Praise is a moment of unbridled joy. It's a time when the congregation bursts forth in loud praise of God for who He is: a God of mercy, a God of forgiveness. In one common Hymn of Praise, the congregation uses words from the book of Revelation to note how God is deserving of blessing, honor, glory, and might. God is worthy to be praised because of what He has done for us in sending the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who was slain, whose blood set us free to be God's people. The Lamb has begun His reign and we await its full and ultimate fulfillment when Jesus returns.
It's hard to capture the amount of joy present in this moment. I imagine Merry and Pippin singing and dancing on tables in the pub in the first and third Lord of the Rings films.
I imagine the scene in Star Wars: A New Hope, in which Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are trapped in a trash compactor. When it finally stops moving, they shout for joy with such vigor that C3PO thinks they're being crushed to death.
I imagine Buddy the Elf's uncontainable excitement when he hears Santa is coming.
Many Christians around the world are very good at expressing joy in worship. Dancing, movement, and shouts of praise are a part of their Christian traditions.
Other Christians are less good at expressing joy in worship. Being subdued and stoic is culturally ingrained into many people of northern European descent (myself among them). In some cultures, worship is viewed as a place of such extreme propriety and piety that joy and praise somehow don't belong. Big emotions are seen as a sign of weakness.
This is a misunderstanding of joy and praise. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It is a gift given to all Christians. It is a fruit to be shared with others. It is not a reckless emotion in need of subduing. Joy is a fruit meant to be multiplied.
The Hymn of Praise is a moment for joy to come forth. It is a moment for us Christians to bask in God's glory and our forgiveness because of Christ.
So the next time you sing the Hymn of Praise remember that the joy of the Lord is our strength.