Blogging Toward Sunday, April 15th
Sermon: Jonathan Morris
Awakening Our Wonder:
"Soothe a Savage"
Scripture: Psalm 40:1-3 (NRSV)
I waited patiently for the Lord;
   he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
   out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
   making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
   a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
   and put their trust in the Lord.
Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
~ William Congreve, in  The Mourning Bride , 1697
In Psalm 40, God does something as wonderful as softening rocks and bending knotted oaks when God lifts us up out of our desolate pits and miry bogs. As we'd phrase it today, God rescues us from the deadliest quicksand. When we see no way out, God is faithful and powerful to save us! Don Moen expressed this thought in a song:
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way;
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me.
He will be my guide,
Hold me closely to His side.
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way!
The psalmist rejoices that our God doesn't stop with just rescuing us - God puts a new song in our mouths of praise and rejoicing. Working a miracle in our lives is reason to rejoice, and God rejoices with us. God doesn't resent having to drag us out of the miry bog... again... because God seizes every opportunity to bond with us and strengthen our relationship.
There's more to this new song that just miracles and rejoicing. "Musick has Charms" that go beyond our logical, conscious selves. Music builds and strengthens connections in our brains, bridging logic and emotions, conscious thought and semi-conscious reaction and subconscious life-sustaining activities. Music completes us, and God's new song is one way that God's act of rescuing us goes further to make us better than we were before.
Music is an astonishing gift from God to every one of us, and that gift is not dependent at all on our individual talents or skills as musical performers. You don't have to carry a tune to carry God's song in your heart. You don't have to lay down a sick beat to tap into your personal music experience and share it with others. This Sunday's message is all about how every one of us can grow through God' s music, in church, in our times of meditation, and in our daily activities. I promise not to breathe a word about how you could join one of the music or related ministries during these services! (But after the service...?)
See you in church!
Jonathan Morris
Director of Music Ministries