Doing New Material
I gravitate to old favorites when it comes to music. There are days when a song I've heard a thousand times - whether it's Gungor, Dar Williams, Ellis Paul or Iron & Wine - is the only thing that will do. Sometimes the old stuff brings comfort in a way that the new stuff isn't capable of bringing.
What's your old standard?
Reading this morning in Psalm 144 and I came across a pretty standard Bible phrase:
I will sing a new song to you, O God; (144:9, NRSV)
A new song. Interesting. David writes this verse in the middle of a Psalm honoring God for being the only source of protection and life that anyone could ever want or need.
Dead center of this thought lies the concept - I will sing a new song.
Granted, to us the writing of the Psalms couldn't be any older but for some reason that phrase hit me differently today. Sing a new song. In the middle of reaching desperately through the smog and fog of real life with God it is time for some new material.
I will sing a new song.
New material, at least for me as a hack songwriter, comes from a new place in life and a new approach to an old melody. It comes over lyrics that express the same emotions - love, loss, hope and fear - but at a different age and stage where the blossoms smell different and the sun is at a different angle.
I will sing a new song.
This is the heart of the melodic, harmonic, and painfully beautiful life of a disciple:
Same challenges. Same struggles. Same moments of explosive yet punctuated joy. But in the midst of it there is a new song.
In the battle against addiction, we overcome in a way that wasn't possible before. A new song.
In the training exercises we enter into to become like Jesus, we find ourselves exhibiting that "easy holiness" of speaking good and beautiful things as a reflex - like second nature. A new song.
In our longings and desires to see God, we find Him not in wild and dramatic places but in the siren song of the small and unnoticed. The smell of bread. The coo of a child. The lightest of winter breezes telling us things are changing.
New songs. New songs. New songs.
David writes a new song because God is constantly renewing us through the same old circumstances and scenarios. In fact, to believe that there is routine and mundane we have to set aside the fact that God is present in each and every moment. If God is present, then even our well-trodden paths become the setting for the miraculous.
How many people walked in the mud that Jesus spit in and used to heal a blind man?
How many people ate fish on the hillside, soaking in the amber burst of the sun, where Jesus would miraculously spread a buffet?
How many people swam in the lake on which Jesus would one day walk?
We sing new songs because God is a God who makes poetry out of impoverished normalcy and draws us into the deep breath of His spirit in the meantime.
Let us go into this week writing new songs. Finding God in the average and ordinary so we can see the extraordinary God at play in the fields of this moment.
And as a treat, here's an old standard about the God worthy of new songs: