"Singing of God's Faithfulness"
by Pastor Amy
Psalm 150:6 - Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
“I’m not musical but I like to sing”, that’s what I told my husband when we were first dating. At the time he was a worship pastor and it was clear music was an important part of his life. Later he would find out my lack of talent when he would turn the music up in the car while I was singing along, I just assumed he had hearing loss from his years playing in a band in college.
There’s many aspects of church I miss during this time, but one thing I think I hold in common with many people is I miss corporate singing. While I love Sunday mornings in my role I often feel “on” for most of the service. My mind is usually rolling through whats next. “Does George have cancer or George’s friend? What that a private for public prayer request? ‘Did I remember to tell Alex he’s doing the offering today?’ Is my mic on?’ Sometimes this causes me to miss one of my favorite parts of the corporate worship experience. But there are moments when the band finishes a song, or the choir finishes the anthem and I take a deep breathe and enjoy the presence of God and appreciate the life that music brings to my soul. I am really missing the aspect of corporate singing in worship.
We know that music is closely tied to memory. My earliest memory of music was memorizing a song on my mom’s piano. The only song she knew was “The Rose” which I discovered last week was written by Bette Midler. (You can judge me if you want.) You could say we weren’t a very musical family, but I can tell you that hearing that song played today brings back memories of calm and peace. Beyond that my memories include playing the recorded in 5th grade, and my 8th grade choir teacher telling me that I need voice lessons ofter bombing “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat”. Turns out he was right, but if I took voice lessons I would be late for lunch and have to sit with people I didn’t know. Given fragility of my 8th grade ego, I dropped the class and here we are today.
Music has always been an essential part of our faith and worship life. One look at the book of Psalms (the ancient liturgy of the Israelites) and we see how crucial this is to our worship experience. That being said, many of my “divine moments” in these “disordered days” have been experienced through music. I’ve been listening to hymns and worship songs that express; joy, pain, grief, lament, and hope. I’ve been allowing the hymn writers (and the Psalms) to give words to what I’m feeling in these days. And in some small way - that gives me hope. I am not the first person in the world to experience a global pandemic. I am not the first person in the world to miss connection with my friends and neighbors. I am not the first person who has had to drastically lower my expectations of what productive or success looks like in these disordered days. So I cling to music. I let the words of Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art wash over me.
I cling to the hymn writers many of them knew something of suffering. I cling to the Psalms and I find my center. I am learning anew how to live into joy, longing, and sadness while singing of God’s faithfulness.
Prayer: O Lord my God, I stand in awe at who you are. When stars shine and thunder rolls, I remember the worlds your hands have created. Your faithfulness brings pure joy and my soul cannot keep from singing of your goodness. So let the shouts, groans, and churning of my spirit be poured out as worship to you. Amen
This Week’s Challenge
Read Psalm 150:1-6
Reflect on your earliest memory of music, and consider how music has shaped your faith.