Sing!

Did you know that people have died because they sang congregationally in praise of the Lord?  One in a list of accusations against Bohemian Jan Huss was martyred for speaking the “heresy of congregational singing.”  In fact, part of Martin Luther’s reformation was bringing congregational singing with his hymns.  If a town heard a congregation singing, then they knew that people had departed the Catholic church and were under the influence of Protestantism.

“Melodies matter. Words matter. Our songs always say something. We have been created to use language. to reflect and meditate on His words, to remember over and over again His voice.  Singing together organizes notes and words in beautiful ways to shine God’s dazzling truths into the relativistic grays of our culture”.
(pg. 8-9)

“As we sing to God and about God together with the people of God, we reflect the truth that we were designed for community, both with God and with each other”.

When we sing as God’s people, it brings us into line with the whole of the rest of creation:

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
before the Lord, for he comes
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity. Psalm 98

“God is the ultimate musician. His music transforms your life.  The notes of redemption rearrange your heart and restore your life.  His songs of forgiveness, grace, reconciliation, truth, hope, sovereignty, and love give you back your humanity and restore your identity”.

Pastor Jarrod Scott

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Missionaries – At Home and Abroad

Out of town this past Sunday, Judy and I attended Auke Bay Bible Church for worship.

Two reflections…

First, the service revolved around a missionary couple who had just returned from serving in Venezuela  for the past 20 years. In their mid 40’s the husband felt called by God to retire early from a promising career. They went to a very remote village to support a couple who were spending their lives translating the Bible into the local dialect. Their two kids, in middle school, were put in a boarding school, a 3.5hr flight away. We can second guess their priorities (family vs. foreign missions) but not their commitment to Christian service. Story after story of hardships, dangers and the confirmation of God’s grace, they were a testimony of one couple’s lives devoted to the Lord. Now deep into their 60’s and in poor health, returning “home” with humble spirits and, I suspect, though never said, little in the way of financial reserves. It reminds me, with some trepidation, of the verses in Matthew 6 and Philippians 3 that our treasures and our citizenship are not of this earth, but reside eternally in Heaven.

Second, the worship leader asked for prayer for his step-sister who does not have a personal relationship with Christ. Standing two seats down from me was a guest who I know believes good deeds are the ticket to heaven. Ignoring the Bible, it would seem so logical that if heaven exists, good folks would be the ones going. But His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55) and we are ALL sinners and fall short of Heaven (Romans 3:23), regardless of how good we may appear.  It also reminded me that week after next I will be spending a couple of days alone with a confessed atheist, working on a project. He is such a nice, kind-hearted guy but, in God’s infinite wisdom, currently destined for an eternity in Hell. My prayer is to have an opportunity to share the Three Circles (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynABoGMoxgc) with him.

Some food for thought.

Blessings,
Jeff Hilles

“Let it be”

I recently was listening to an interview with Paul McCartney as he detailed some of the stories and contexts of songs he has written for the Beatles.  One of his more popular ballads is the song, “Let it be.”  I was intrigued to know that the reference to “mother Mary” was to his actual mother, named Mary, whom he did dream about and her words to him in his turmoil was “let it be.”   I had just assumed he was appealing to the Catholic teaching of praying to the mother Mary, which surely didn’t hinder sales.  McCartney shared how the dream brought comfort to him in a rocky season of his life and consequently the song comforted many in a troubled time of history not only in the late 60’s and early 70’s but also after 9/11.

As I listened to the lyrics again in light of this new information, I couldn’t help but hear the hope for redemption.   This redemption hope was the basis for peace and form the underpinnings for optimism in the midst of darkness and broken hearts.

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer
Let it be

For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow
Let it be

Yet the song falls short in explaining our confidence that we can “Let it be.”  The assumption is that there is a wise power who is engaged, sufficiently powerful, and working on our behalf.  Yet we don’t have to live in assumption but in revelation.  Perhaps this next song makes explicit what is implicit.

There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

There’ll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

 

What a day that will be when the broken-hearted people living in the world will see The One who saved them by His grace; When He takes them by the hand, and leads them through the Promised land, What a day, glorious day that will be.

Jarrod Scott