Sing a new song, from day to day

Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
(Psalm 96:1-6 ESV)

As the church we’ve got to hold firm to what has gone before us. We hold tightly to our history and the great traditions of God’s people. One thing Scripture is is a collection of what God has been doing, and the psalms are a reflection our what his people do in response. We don’t have to recreate or remake the Bible, but when we listen to God speaking in it, as we see in this Psalm, we do need to allow the creation of new things.

We honor our past and do not leave behind the songs of our forebears. And who would want to? There is still an untapped depth to the poetry of hymns that have been written and surely forgotten. But we are to “sing to the LORD a new song.”

God hasn’t stopped acting in this place and we shouldn’t stop reflecting on his handiwork. When people write new songs and we go through the work of learning them, it is further testimony that still today our God is great and worthy to be praised. He is not like worthless idols that do not deserve an ounce of ink to be spilt in writing their praise. So we declare his glory not only of that which was on display in the past, but of his marvelous works today.

This Sunday we’ll have a chance to do that singing some relatively new songs. It’s not because they are better, but because it is good to do so.*

*And also our pianists aren’t there! But the point still stands. 🙂

I Will Not Boast in Anything–No Gifts, No Powers, No Wisdom

I always enjoy posting music that fits our readings so enjoy this wonderful song describing our God’s great love for us. The following lines especially fit with our repeated theme of boasting, and not doing so about ourselves, but only in Jesus Christ.

From How Deep the Father’s Love for Us:

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.

Music from the Psalms – Psalm 130

Several months ago I bought an album by Indelible Grace that leads off with the song “From the Depths of Woe.” It is a long song that builds from its mournful opening to a confident and hopeful end. I had heard it played a little differently before, but this is a powerful version that I was eager to share with you. But since it is a song based off of Psalm 130, I had to wait until this week when it falls within our readings.

Quick bit of history: It was written by Martin Luther way back in the 16th century. Not the psalm, of course, someone else wrote that. But he paraphrased it into German. If you didn’t know it yet, Luther was not only an accomplished nuisance to the church and great reformer, but he was a man of many talents, such as writing hymns.

If you enjoy playing the music, as well as listening to it, here is the music for it. (The links are on the right).

Catching Up: 1 Samuel 7 and ‘Come Thou Fount’

I’m going to look back in our schedule at a selection that fell in the previous week of Year in the Bible. In 1 Samuel the Israelites are having some difficulties with their neighbors the Philistines. At the urging of Samuel, they cry out to their Lord for forgiveness and deliverance, and Samuel intercedes with prayer and sacrifice. God saves his people giving them victory over their enemies.

In response to God’s help and in recognition that God is the one who secured the victory, Samuel sets up a memorial to be a witness for the people. Earlier Israel had matched up against the Philistines and failed, but with God’s help they succeed. Samuel wants the people to remember this so he erected a stone to serve as the memorial and named it Ebenezer, meaning ‘stone of help.’

There’s a song that recounts this story from 1 Samuel and mentions this Ebenezer, but this detail has been lost in more recent rewritings. The song is “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Our hymnal at church uses the 1973 rewrite in which the second stanza goes like this:

Hither to thy love has blessed me
Thou has brought me to this place
And I know thy hand will bring me
Safely home by thy good grace

These lyrics replace in other modern hymnals the lyrics:

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

I can see why someone would rewrite lyrics that might carry no significance if no one knows what Ebenezer is. But that can be a challenge to teach others or inform ourselves of these Bible stories that inspired the hymn writers and shaped their words. When we sing this popular hymn let the words remind us of this story from 1 Samuel, a story of our complete dependence on God’s help and of the way we should memorialize the wonderful help he gives to us.

A Song for Psalm 51

On Sunday I invited everyone who is not reading along with Year in the Bible to read one thing this week, Psalm 51. It’s thought to be a psalm written by David after Nathan the prophet came to him, rebuking him for the sin he committed with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12).

It is a psalm of repentance and reliance on God, and it is one of my favorites. A band called Indelible Grace plays an amazing version of a song based off this psalm that balances a plaintive, yet hopeful tone. I think this is fitting given the context and the depth of pain and brokenness we see in these words. There is a desperate longing to be reconciled with God. But there is still hope because of the work of God and the assurance we have that he will forgive. Check out the song at this link, and let me know what you think:

Indelible Grace, ‘God, Be Merciful To Me (Psalm 51)’

Take to the World

Yesterday’s post about being sent brought to mind the song, Take to the World, by Derek Webb. I commend to you his whole album, but read these lyrics and listen to the song. It does a good job of describing our being sent.

Go in peace to love and to serve
And let your ears ring long with what you have heard
And may the bread on your tongue leave a trail of crumbs
To lead the hungry back to the place that you are from

And take to the world this love hope and faith
Take to the world this rare relentless grace
And like the three in one
Know you must become what you want to save
‘Cause that’s still the way
He takes to the world

Go and go far take light deep in the dark
Believe what’s true use it as all, even you
May the bread on your tongue leave a trail of crumbs
To lead the hungry back to the place you are from

See What a Morning

This is a few hours early, so maybe just wait until morning to watch this. I think this song captures a great tone of triumph and joy, which should characterize Easter Sunday.