Today’s Reading: Psalm 100
Monks chanting, people praising, choirs serenading, children singing… music has been an integral part of life in the church since its beginning (and it was a part of the Jewish faith long before that)! In fact, I’m not sure we can separate music from a life of faith; the two seem to go hand-in-hand. According to one researcher, 1,150 verses of the Bible mention making music and there are 185 songs whose lyrics appear in the Bible! Music is part of the culture of our Christian faith and has certainly played an important role here at Central Union. This week, we will reflect on how we can continue to infuse music into our individual lives, as well as into the life of our community of faith.
Among my favorite songs of the Bible is Psalm 100. It begins, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” When I was in middle school and felt nervous about participating in our Sunday school choir, our choir director would continually remind us all that the psalm doesn’t say “Make a beautiful song” or “Make a peaceful, perfect melody”; it says “Make a joyful NOISE!” It is a call for us to praise God in whatever way comes to us! The sound we make matters less than the heart and the intent behind it.
Perhaps the moment this truly clicked for me was when I was in seminary and a fellow student, who was the pastor of a deaf community, shared his song with our choir. There was a rhythm and a beauty as he signed and clapped the song and it drew me in, helping me to connect with God in a new way. Its power wasn’t only in its beauty. As he sang, it was clear from his emotion and focus that his song wasn’t shared to impress us; his song was for God. His intention was worship and praise! His
joy radiated and moved us all. We went from watching and learning to praising and worshipping.
Can you think of a time when a song has moved you so deeply?
“Music is the universal language of mankind.”
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow