Memorizing song lyrics is not one of my spiritual gifts. If you asked me to recite the lyrics to my favorite songs, I would be embarrassed by how many of the words I would get wrong. When I am at a show, standing on the floor and watching one of my favorite bands play, the lyrics to their songs flow through me. But once the show is over, it’s like I never heard those songs before. Lyrics do not stay at the forefront of my mind. Rather, the entire experience of singing – from the music to the lyrics to whom I’m singing with – is how I hold onto this event. I need the music to recall the lyrics and the lyrics to recall how the song made me feel and the emotions from the song to help me remember the music. Songs, to me, are events that are hard to separate.
You might have noticed in worship that new music is entering into our rotation. David Scance is doing a wonderful job finding new contemporary music to introduce to the 9:00 am service. At the 10:30 am worship, we’ve intentionally been repeating hymns every week. The one verse we sing when we bring the bread and wine to the altar is repeated for a month, helping us rehearse a new piece of music. After that, the song is repeated all year long. The hymns we have picked at 10:30 am are hymns written by Martin Luther. Some of these songs might be familiar to you; others might be brand new. These new songs are invitations to discover God’s grace in a new way. New words and new tunes can help us see God’s love for us anew.
The month of March this year is a month that is hard to separate. For 31 days, we are in Lent. The songs of Lent from “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” to “Ah, Holy Jesus” will carry us into the Three Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Lent is an opportunity to see ourselves and our God in a new way. Let’s see if the words we sing, even new ones, can help us discover and embody God’s grace in a new way.
See you in church!