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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2 Corinthians 3:17, 18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:23, 24 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.