Lent Day 19: Sing a New Song
I will lay waste mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. 16 And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.
Many people have heard the song, “We shall overcome.” This song was originally a gospel song entitled, “I’ll overcome some day”, but the title was changed when it was used as an anthem for the civil rights movement. Both this song and the text before us are words of deliverance and protest, in the midst of bondage and oppression. They are songs of hope for freedom and a new reality.
“Think of it: new courage, new faith, new energy, new obedience, new joy.” As we look at our world right now, we are all looking for a new song to sing. We all want a fresh start to life as we look to Easter and the season of Spring.
All the protests that have taken place over the past few years speak of and long for that new reality, even though it might not come today. “The new song never describes the world the way it is now. The new song imagines how the world will be in God’s good time. The new song is a protest against the way the world is now. The new song is refusal to accept the present world as it is, a refusal to believe this is right or that the present will last.”
This is the time for the church to be the church and take the risk to be courageous and sing the song that is the power of the gospel, as an affirmation that will not let the world remain as it is.
At this time in our nation, I am sure many of us feel the despair, diminished influence, and impact on the culture around us. We can feel the hopelessness and empty feeling that the world is resistant to change, aware that our world appears to be slipping into the abyss.
However, this is not the time for us to play it safe. It is time for the community of faith to rise from the ashes to sing and declare a new song. We as the community of faith are called by our very nature to be counterculture to all that we see around us.
“The new song is also a bold assertion, innocently declaring that the God of the gospel has plans and purposes and a will to reorder the world, to bring wholeness and health to the blind, the poor, the needy, the nations so fearful, and the entire creation now so under killing assault. The song asserts God’s good will against deathliness. The song asserts God’s future against our present tense. The song asserts God’s relentless faithfulness in the midst of our desperate fickleness.”
“In the midst of exile, we look for you. O God. Teach us your new song that we may present a counter to the ways of death and celebrate your faithfulness and the new life that you are ever brining into being. Amen.”
Brueggemann, Walter. A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent. Kentucky: Westminster John Know Press, 2017.