Daily D – Psalm 98:1
Psalm 98:1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
Ken Medema is a musician who is almost completely blind. He started playing piano when he was five years old. He began training in classical music when he was eight years old. Then he started improvising. He worked as a musical therapist in a hospital after graduating from college. He wrote songs about some teenagers he met there who were having a hard time. They loved them.
In the fall of 1981, Ken provided worship music and improvisational art at a conference for college students I attended. Calvin Miller was the speaker. His books The Singer, The Song, and The Finale quickly became some of my favorites.
Miller preached a message from Isaiah 6:1-8 I can still hear and see so picturesque was his proclamation. He also preached about Jesus’ restoring Peter and redirecting him, again, from fish to sheep.
Medema responded to these messages with songs he improvised on the spot. He sang about the Jesus and Peter Training Company for the Feeding of the Sheep. For a young man planning a career in pastoral ministry and who loves words and combining their denotation with connotation to connect hearts and minds with truth that sticks, these were holy moments.
What if you could tell a story like Calvin Miller? What if you could improvise songs like Ken Medema? What if you could create a song a day based on how you experienced God, how you saw him at work around you? What if your day ended with a new song as you prepared to begin your next with rest and dreams filled with wonder and glory?
What would your catalog contain? Would there be more praise and thanksgiving, or more blues and woe? What would your songs teach? How would your songs celebrate? How would your gospel soul evoke hope even through minor keys?
You are not Ken Medema. You are not Calvin Miller. Even so, you can write down a day’s worth of gratitude in a notebook. You can tell a simple story of how God showed up when you were beginning to think you were all alone. You can raise an Ebenezer declaring how much progress God led you to on this day.
It’s Sunday morning as I write these words. I’m a little under the weather. We may not make it into the church building today. COVID blessed us with enriched opportunities to worship at home with our church family. Even if our worship leader Ray doesn’t have a new song for us today, our Father in heaven does. I will sing the songs Ray leads us through, and I will sing the songs our Father in heaven leads me to.
I will sing to the Lord a new song.
Our Father, thank you for the gifts of singing and musical expression. I will use other people’s talents in creating songs of praise and worship to express my love to you. I will also sing songs of my own creation no one else will ever know. They are for you and you alone. Amen.
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1 Kings 22:34 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.”
1 Kings 21:25, 26 (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)
Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
2 Chronicles 15:1, 2 The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”