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A Song To Remember

January 2013
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Sing a song“When you feel down and out, sing a song (it’ll make your day). Here’s a time to shout, sing a song (it’ll make a way). Sometimes it’s hard to care, sing a song (it’ll make your day). A smile so hard to bear, sing a song (it’ll make a way) . . . .” Those are the words in the first verse of “Sing A Song” by Earth, Wind and Fire (YouTube Video below).

There’s just something about happy music that puts a smile on my face, a spring in my step, and makes the worst of days so much better, and I bet it does the same for you, too, providing you like music–well, happy music. And who doesn’t? Music is the universal language of the world, and while it can bring us happy feelings, it can also instill sadness and fear (source here). However, one of it’s greatest attributes is that it can bring us great comfort in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances.

Three thousand years ago King David was known for his song writing abilities, and we have the words to many of His songs (psalms) in the Book of Psalms (over half of the psalms are attributed to him), as well as other writers known and unknown. Music and praise took him from the deepest pits of despair to the very throne of God in the midst of very trying and sometimes terrifying circumstances that didn’t immediately change, either. But he knew that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah (Selah means “pause and think about that”). Those words are from Psalm 46:1-3 composed by the Sons of Korah, yet they were also etched on the heart of David.

Get lost in the momentI must confess that one of the constants in my life during this very long ordeal with unemployment has been the power of music to lift me out of the doldrums and despair when the full force of almost four years of searching for that job that never seems to materialize gets the better of me. And, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, especially those with YouTube videos attached at the end of the post, you’ll know that my love of music extents way beyond Christian music to include the music from the era I grew up in (60’s & 70’s) and other contemporary secular music, too.

Christian music has a specific role, for the most part, of leading us to the worship of God and Jesus Christ, yet I have found many times in secular music there are profound truths in the words that the artists have composed regarding not only the nature of God (indirectly, of course) but a yearning for something more but written within the realm of human understanding as most of those composers do not acknowledge Christianity as a guiding force in their lives. Yet, as King Solomon (David’s son by Bathsheba and also considered to be the wisest man who ever lived) stated, “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Eternity is set in the heart of every human being who has ever walked this earth right up to today whether or not we (or those who have gone before us) choose to acknowledge God (some do, many do not).

There is a great divide in the Church today regarding the secular and the sacred, especially when it comes to music. To get you thinking about this divide, you can read an article published in Relevant Magazine titled, When the Secular is Sacred.” While everything in this world can be used for either good or for evil and that includes music, when we listen to music that inspires us or makes us think about choices we have made or can make in a positive manner, or that inspires hope, the separation between secular and sacred diminishes somewhat. Yes, there is specific music (sacred music) that is specific to a church or Christian setting, particularly during worship times in church or religious settings, yet “out in the world” where we live and breathe for the rest of our week there is a whole variety of music that inspires us, too. After all, as Ecclesiastes 3:11 states, God has set eternity in the hearts of each and every one of us whether we acknowledge it (and Him) or not.

God gives His gifts to everyone, not just those who choose to believe in Him. And He doesn’t take that gift away from people just because they don’t use it to glorify Him in the way that many Christians think about music. The incredible variety of music we have in our world today is a testament to that very fact. The vast creativity of God is found, for example, in the wide variety of music in the many cultures that circle our globe, and that great variety is absolutely breath-taking. Music is, indeed, a universal language.

God cannot be pigeon-holed. We cannot put God in a box (see article here). And I’m not referring to plurialism, either. After all, Jesus Christ clearly states, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [God] except through me” (John 14:6). However, many Christians today do put God in a box of their own making, and anything that doesn’t fit in that box is suspect. Music is a great example of that. Yet God is sovereign over everything that happens on this earth and in the universe. His creative abilities are not limited in any way by our own prejudices. He is God! He does as He wishes and uses folks all the time to accomplish His will, even when they don’t recognize it or Him.

Having said all of that, there is still an element of music that is very specific to the worship of God, and that music lifts us to the very throne of God in the midst of all kinds of trials we face here in earth. The devotion for today in Our Daily Bread expresses this idea clearly:

A Song To Remember

Deuteronomy 31:16-22

I was delighted when I received a free gift in the mail—a CD of Scripture set to music. After listening to it several times, some of the melodies took root in my mind. Before long, I could sing the words to a couple of verses in the book of Psalms without the help of the recording.

Music can help us recall words and ideas we might otherwise forget. God knew that the Israelites would forget Him when they entered the Promised Land (Deut. 31:20). They would forsake Him, turn to idols, and trouble would follow (vv.16-18). Because of this, He asked Moses to compose a song and teach it to the Israelites so they could remember their past closeness with Him and the sin that hurt their relationship (31:19-22). Perhaps most important, God wanted His nation to recall His character: “[God] is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (32:4).

Consider what God might want you to remember about Him today. Is it His power, His holiness, His love, or His faithfulness? Can you think of a song that celebrates God’s character? Sing it in your heart to the Lord (Eph. 5:19). ~Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Give me a spirit of praise, dear Lord,
That I may adore Your name,
Sing praises from the depths of a grateful heart
To the One who is always the same. ~Dawe

Remembering God’s goodness puts a song in your heart.

I started out this post with the words to the first verse in “Sing A Song” by Earth, Wind and Fire, and I’ll end it with the last verse: “Bring your heart to believing, sing a song (it’ll make your day). Life ain’t about retrieving, sing a song (it’ll make a way). Give yourself what you need, sing a song (it’ll make your day). Smile, smile, smile and believe, sing a song (it’ll make a way).”

What (or rather Who) we need is Jesus Christ. So “smile, smile, smile and believe, sing a song (it’ll make a way)”–the only Way there is through Jesus Christ.

And that’s a song that will take you right on through this life to eternity!

YouTube Video: “Sing A Song” (1975) by Earth, Wind, and Fire:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here

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4 Comments

  1. mary green says:

    hi sara,

    this was so upbeat, and a very nice read, with fantastic music i’m thinking from the 70’s rite?

    mary

    Like

  2. heartpeace says:

    Granted, I am a lyricist and can create a melody but I think more folks could do this if they tried… how about the next time you feel down or negative, find your favorite Scripture verse and ‘sing it’ to the melody of another song? This will make it easier to remember the Scripture and while your singing it, will lift your spirit! Thanks Sara! I too am very thankful for songwriters and music. I discovered in 1981 that I had made idols of the muscians and their songs so I needed to step back, and express to the Lord, that He alone was now my only Savior. But I also agree with what you said, that regardless of a songwriters or singers connection with God, there can be some enlightening stuff in secular works. I believe strongly that anointed music especially, has the power to uplift, restore, heal and release people from what may hold them. *Love the photo of the older woman and the young one dancing. lol. Perfect 🙂 Sing a song!

    Like

    • Thanks, Heartpeace! I do listen to a lot of great Christian music and in the past when I have listened to music created from Scripture I do find it to be a great way to memorize Scripture. Many of the verses I have memorized are from childhood as I attended a church that was very big on their young kids memorizing Scripture although back then it was not set to music per se. We were given cards with a Scripture passage on it every week to memorize that week and had to recite it the next week. It’s amazing after all of these years the number of verses I still remember that I learned as a kid (all in KJV as that’s all we had back then). Wow, that brought back memories!!!

      Anyway, when I was young I, too, made songwriters an idol (I wanted to marry Paul McCartney when I was only 12 years old!!!), and while I do love their music (not just the Beatles but all of the great stuff written by so many, many great groups back in the 1960’s-70’s) I do not idolized any of them (after all, I am 60 now!!!). But I love the music that came out of that whole era. However, I haven’t kept up with the music scene in years and have no idea who’s “famous” out there now (well, for the most part).

      One of the reasons I put “secular” music from that era on my some of my blog posts (besides the fact that I love it but do not idolized the performers) has to do with the fact that God can and does transcend our limited thinking when it comes to music created by those who do not espouse Christianity. And there is a lot of amazing talent in the music industry and not just within the realm of Christian music. Also, over the years, a variety of Christian musicians (Amy Grant is one that immediately comes to mind) have “crossed over” into the secular music industry. I’m just saying that God is a whole lot bigger than the boxes we put Him in. And music is a great example of that.

      And . . . I totally agree that Jesus (and not musicians or anybody else for that matter) is the only Savior there is (and the only one I have, too)! And worship music is what I listen to when I spend time worshiping the Lord. It can and does lift us up to the place of real worship. While I rarely feel down or negative anymore (which is amazing after almost four years of unemployment), it occasionally hits at times like it does with anybody and I agree with you that as a believer worship music can take us right out of that down mood and lift us into the presence of God.

      Anyway, it was great hearing from you again, Heartpeace! I always appreciate your comments! 🙂 ~Sara

      Like

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