I belong to a clergywomen’s Face Book page and a question was asked recently about planning a Lessons and Carols service for Advent. It caught me a little off guard, as I haven’t even started to think about Thanksgiving dinner yet, but as you know, pastors have to be thinking way ahead. I have always loved Lessons and Carols, as it tells the nativity story in alternating Scripture readings and hymns. It is a full audience participation kind of thing, and when I say it tells the story, it begins in Genesis with a reminder of why we needed Jesus in the first place.
It wasn’t very long ago that we couldn’t even sing in the sanctuary together due to pandemic protocols, and so singing is a blessing that we have learned not to take for granted anymore. After months of online worship and then months of no congregational singing as we cautiously worshipped in masks with an aim of reducing potential viral transmission, we finally arrived at that wonderful Sunday where singing was permitted.
I wept that day.
Singing has always been an important part of worship for me. I grew up in a singing family, and we sang together in perfect harmony on every long car ride. My father sang in a Barbershop Chorus right up until the day he died, and my parents funded six years of private voice lessons for me in order to encourage a singing lifestyle as I grew up.
Today’s psalm encourages us to SING. We are invited to sing a new song and tell of God’s loyal love and faithfulness through every generation.
Psalm 98 (Common English Bible)
Sing to the Lord a new song
because he has done wonderful things!
His own strong hand and his own holy arm
have won the victory!
2 The Lord has made his salvation widely known;
he has revealed his righteousness
in the eyes of all the nations.
3 God has remembered his loyal love
and faithfulness to the house of Israel;
every corner of the earth has seen our God’s salvation.
The level of joy in this psalm is off the charts. The psalmist encourages us to shout triumphantly, rejoice, be happy, and praise God.
4 Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth!
Rejoice out loud!
Sing your praises!
5 Sing your praises to the Lord with the lyre—
with the lyre and the sound of music.
6 With trumpets and a horn blast,
shout triumphantly before the Lord, the king!
Even the sounds of creation are invited to sing along:
7 Let the sea and everything in it roar;
the world and all its inhabitants too.
8 Let all the rivers clap their hands;
let the mountains rejoice out loud altogether 9 before the Lord
because he is coming to establish justice on the earth!
He will establish justice in the world rightly;
he will establish justice among all people fairly.
The promise that God will establish justice in the world is enough to sing about. What does that mean to you? Are you weary of politics, wars, strife, and disobedience? Are you worn out with everything?
Today’s psalm is the perfect antidote to our ennui. When you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, do one thing: just sing.
Sing a New Song by Michelle Robertson