"Gird your sword upon your side, O Mighty One; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility, and righteousness...." Psalm 45:3–4
I turned 55 over the weekend, and perhaps it was because the AARP mailings started arriving or perhaps it was something else, but I did some serious reflecting. This was deepened when I learned of the latest school shooting, this one in Santa Fe, Texas. I thought of Dan D. Rogers Elementary School at the corner of Lovers Lane and Abrams Road in Dallas, Texas where I attended through 7th grade. I had lots of issues to contend with mostly centered on unrequited love or athletic failure, but at no time did I feel unsafe. Not once. The thought never occurred to me, and yet today we live in a world where that is precisely how students feel. Their assumption is that violence will eventually happen at their school. It's only a matter of time. As I listened to students express those thoughts, I kept thinking "What's happened to us? How have we moved so far down this dark path?" The answer is not contained in politics or social reform, though that's where most people immediately go. No, the answer isn't that easy - or easily understood. As I lingered there, my prayer was "Come, Lord Jesus." It was the echo of Psalm 45. I felt like throwing up my hands and saying, "Enough already. Just come back and take care of this." And then I remember CS Lewis' words: "God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when he does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks out on to the stage, the play is over."
Music has an indelible place in worldwide culture. It has a unique power to move, inspire, and comfort. While we don't think about it much, there's a reason for that. God is the creator or music (Colossians 1:16). He is the original songwriter, song-singer, song-giver, and that music, like all things He makes, is intended to glorify Him. In fact, God even sings TO US. As Zephaniah's prophecy declares in 3:17, he sings over us with joy, and it DELIGHTS him to do so. God takes us up in His arms, and as He sings over us, we are quieted and calmed by His voice. It is the heart of the gospel. Yes, we live in the tension between sin and grace, but God has taken our punishment upon HImself, so there is nothing to keep us from receiving the tenderness of HIs love. This takes time, reflection, and prayer to truly internalize, but as we live into it, Zephaniah tells us how we should respond to such love: we should sing, too! 3:14 says "Sing! Shout! Exult!" We do this because of what God has done for us. His song over us becomes HIs song in us, and as we sing in this world, we become the notes and music of HIs Kingdom. We become His chorus on earth. Amidst all the discordant notes we hear today, I pray we will be those who are singing HIS song.