Day 10 | What if Lent is for Tensions? Pt. 1

YOU SHALL HAVE A SONG

Hey, Family – it’s me, Andrea. Interrupting your regularly scheduled programming here with an audible. If you’ve been following our little Lent devo journey here for any number of days, you’ve likely gathered by now that we’ve been curating Bible verses, worship songs, and various snippets from some of our favorite authors, pastors, and speakers to encourage you as we move through Lent and toward Easter together. The next day or two I wanted to take a bit of a break from that to share from my own heart around two scripture passages that have been banging around inside me this week – a passage from Isaiah 30 and one from Psalm 77.  

" You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. 30 And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. 31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. 32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them."
Isaiah 30:29-32

"When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
    its waters looked and trembled!
    The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
    the thunder rumbled in the sky.
    Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
    the lightning lit up the world!
    The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
    your pathway through the mighty waters—
    a pathway no one knew was there!

20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
    with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds."
Psalm 77:16-20

The Psalm 77 scripture was one Keri Foley, our Family Equipping Pastor, shared with us in staff meeting this past week (one that’s also been a word over our leadership since a gathering we had last November) and the other from Isaiah God dropped on me during our weekly “Word & Worship” quiet time in the worship center on Tuesday morning, the same verses I shared in our worship time yesterday morning for those who were there.

Clanging around in my head this week these passages felt more like puzzling flotsam & jetsam that didn’t so much go together as they seemed clumsy words, bumping and colliding in the rush of my otherwise over-busy mind - Psalm 77 a re-telling of the parting of the Red Sea and Isaiah on worship and warfare. I could make sense of and embrace each on its own terms but lazily gave up in putting the two together, distracted by other things. Then yesterday morning in our Sunday service, John Tracy, our guest speaker filling in for Pastor Phil while he’s out of town, shared a word that got me pondering them again and brought some clarity and glorious cohesiveness between the two.

First, Isaiah 30:29.

You shall have a song.

As in the night.

When a holy feast is kept.


Something about the promised force of that “shall” got my attention from the start. You “shall have…” I almost want it in all caps - YOU SHALL HAVE A SONG. It’s a promise, yeah? A future-forward promise. A promise in particular for those who find themselves in no current possession of one, a song that is. You don’t promise something to someone who’s already got what you’re promising them, you know what I mean?

You shall have a song. It’s a promise for a people AWAITING one.  

Many times in the Old Testament, and often in the Psalms, the people of ancient Israel proclaimed in song the “stories of old,” testifying again and again to the goodness and faithfulness of God as they had encountered him through their generations, passing down those stories in song, singing them in synagogues or around tables in homes. To do so – to have such a song – meant the people had to first have eyes to see that God had actually done a mighty, saving work among them, moving in the daily flesh of their stories. And second, they had to possess a willingness to both claim and proclaim the stories of his provision and rescue. Having a song wasn’t just about a nice little melody one could whistle while sweeping the donkey stall. Having a song was about having a good story. And not just any story but a story where God broke out from the heavens, came down from on high, and set things right, for his glory and their good. When we worship today, it’s no different. We are in much the same way telling our stories to each other and proclaiming the good promises of God over the people as we sing our songs together on a Sunday morning or throughout the week.

Interestingly one of John Tracy’s words for us this morning was that as he spent time in prayer for us this week he believes we are as a people coming into a “season of singing,” a phrase arising from a passage out of Song of Solomon.

"See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
 Flowers appear on the earth;
   the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land."

Song of Songs 2:11-12

I’ll admit, as a worship pastor of course, that’s a word I’m eager to see take fierce root, and I believe it’s happening in us already. In our youth, in our millennials, our young families. In our older, wiser gang, too. Our kids. Our singles. God is on the move, working in our stories, and crafting in us a song for a season of singing. So lean in. Be curious. And ask God about the song he wants to give you.  

And… check back in tomorrow for part 2.

In the meantime, a question or two to chew or discuss over dinner with family or a friend:
  • Do you feel like you’re in a space of still “awaiting” your song for the Lord? Or do you believe you’ve already entered a “season of singing” where your heart and lungs are open and eager to testify to the goodness of God in your story?
  • When those around you begin to relax into worship and sing or move on a Sunday morning, in what way(s) do you feel yourself instinctively respond and how? Do you lean in and join heartily, hesitantly, or somewhere in between? Do you feel a tightening or resistance? What emotion(s) might you be able to name is involved in your response - whether negative, positive, ambivalent? If you believe we are a people called to worship in heart, mind, soul, and strength, yet you find yourself dragging your feet in physical, musical worship on Sundays, it might be interesting to get a little curious about where that comes from and why. Phone a friend, ask their thoughts. You never know what an honest conversation might reveal.
  • Where in your life right now do you feel the tension of “waiting” for something – in particular waiting for something good that only God has the ability to bring to you? Greater joy or freedom or forgiveness, resolution in a tough situation or relationship? Can you look back to a place in your story prior to now and purposefully choose to “remember” a song to sing (a story) where God provided, rescued, or otherwise intervened in a powerful way?

And I’ll leave you with - a song - of course. In this strange season of public health issues developing in the Pacific Northwest here, it would seem we’re all in for the tensions of a decent amount of “waiting” and lack of a swift resolution. During the waiting this felt like the perfect benediction. (Thank you, Keri Foley, for sharing it with some of us.) It’s so brand new that there’s only this beautiful live video floating around and no official track (yet) for our growing Spotify Lenten playlist, but it’s so worth it I wanted to share anyway. It’s a good listen all the way to the end. Pay attention in particular to the sense of declaration of the blessing over each and every one of them in the house there. So good.

You shall have a song, friend.

Freedom & grace,
Andrea Baker
Worship Director

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3 Comments


Steve - March 10th, 2020 at 12:30am

Before I could hear,

you gave me a song.

Before I could see,

you gave me a song.

Before I could feel,

you gave me a song.

Before I could sing,

you gave me a song.

Before I was,

you gave me a song.

And you...



Waited



Waited for me to hear.

To hear a bit of the melody.

Of the melody you had woven for me.

You waited.

Waited for me to hear.

And you...



Revealed



Revealed that I might see.

See who I am to you.

See who you are to me.

You revealed.

Revealed that I might see.

And you...



Touched



Touched that I might feel.

Feel your presence close to me.

Feel you walking by my side.

You touched.

Touched that I might feel.

And you...



Sang



Sang a song that I might sing.

Sang that I might sing with you.

Sang that I might know your truth.

You sang.

Sang a song that I might sing.

And you...



Knew



Knew me before I was.

Knew me and made me whole.

Knew me and made me yours.

You knew.

Knew me before I was.

And now I...



Sing



Sing of all I hear from you

Sing of all I see in you.

Sing of love I feel from you.

Sing of how you touch my life.

Sing that I am...



Yours

Nichole Huffaker - March 10th, 2020 at 4:29pm

Thank you for writing about this and sharing this song. I’m undone. RELEASE ALL OF THE SONGS, LORD!!!!

Andrea Baker - March 11th, 2020 at 3:03am

So good, yeah, Nichole? That song is undoing me in all the right ways. Keep listening because we'll likely do it one of these Sundays coming up here (whenever Corona goes back to the pit from which it came, that is).... : )

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