Quote of the Day: a few lines from Psalm 98 , The Message Bible.
Sing to God a brand-new song.
He’s made a world of wonders!
Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!
Round up an orchestra to play for God,
Add on a hundred-voice choir.
Feature trumpets and big trombones.
He’ll straighten out the whole world, He’ll put the world right, and everyone in it.
I’ve had my ups and downs with playing for churches. I started very young at my little country church, Bethany Lutheran. They needed an early morning pianist once a month, and my mom thought I could do it. “Jump on the bench,” she said, and I did. I was in the 7th grade. After a terrible experience, followed by a wonderful one, I’ve spent a few years off the bench until I got a call to help out at the First Lutheran Church in Pillager, MN. Their regular pianist was sick and needed surgery, “Could you fill in a few Sundays?” they asked.
That was August. I am still playing there, and now planning the Christmas Eve service.
Their leader is Pastor Hector Merced, who is from Puerto Rico. I believe he’s been in the USA since he was a young boy. He’s lived all over the country, and world, growing up in New York, joining the military, and serving congregations both large and small. His message this past Sunday was on Psalm 98, Sing a New Song! He asked me to stay at the piano and play something when he talked about the piano (donated and dedicated a year ago). As I sat on the bench, waiting for my cue, I heard a voice say, “Play a new song. Be brave. You’re not being set up for failure, or ridicule.” I thought about the music at church. Sometimes, we sing a new song, or at least new to most of the folks there, which may be a little uncomfortable. Sometimes, we sing old songs, that were once new in the times they were written, or for the people who are just learning them.
Whether we’re singing old songs in a new way, or new songs with a little trepidation, we’re making a joyful noise. We’re entering the song with an open heart. We’re reaching, stretching, and connecting.
Each day, we can wake up knowing that we have a voice. A voice for singing, speaking, and writing, for sharing knowledge and understanding, and for creating something new. We can be the voice of reason and compassion, and yes, we can speak of injustice and a need for change.
One of my favorite gathering hymns is Gather Us In. At the end of one of the phrases, it says, “Give us the courage to enter the song.”
May you feel that courage today as you use your voice, in any art form to…
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What song are you singing today? What new challenges are you facing?
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Enjoyed the post. It was beautifully said.
Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit
Thanks, Juneta. I was feeling inspired.
Such an inspiring post, Mary! “Give us the courage to enter the song.” Amen, amen, amen!
Again, I say Amen!
Whatever we create for the Lord is a beautiful thing to him!
That’s nice you’ve been able to fill in for all those months.
Thanks, Alex. They are a kind a gracious congregation.
Awesome. I think we get cowed into trying to fit into the “norm” too often and forget our own song. It can be terrifying to sing something new and different, but we’re not here to hide in the shadows. Way to be awesome–helping out at the church!
Very much enjoyed reading this post, Mary, including the little bits from your childhood when a wonderful experience followed a not-so-good one and moving into your adult life, when you showed courage. A lesson for life, in general. Thank you for sharing and for spreading love and joy all around.
Thanks, Silvia. And, Christmas is a wonderful time to share the music. And, the New Year begs for a New Song.