Sing a New Song
Whether it’s centuries old or even just a few months old, the music we enjoy most are the songs we already know. Music has a power to capture feelings from the past and send them streaming into our present. It’s a common experience to find yourself moved by some old song that you’ve sung for years. And if it’s a Christian hymn you might feel freshly connected to God’s amazing faithfulness through the song.
This was my experience this summer as Charlotte and I worshipped at First Presbyterian Church in Mt. Vernon. It was a service filled with “old hymns and songs” that long ago were etched into my memory. They brought back rich memories and gratitude for God’s grace in my life even before I was old enough to understand it. Thus there is a wonderful place for old songs.
But the Bible doesn’t suggest that we “sing old songs.” It isn’t something God needs to remind us to do. Our preference is toward singing the songs we already know. What we don’t yet know are the new songs. And it takes energy to write them and learn them. So the Scriptures remind us again and again to “sing a new song.”
Three Psalms start with precisely these words — Psalms 96, 98, and 149 — “sing to the Lord a new song;” as does Isaiah 42:10 (“sing to the Lord a new song”) and Psalm 33:3 (“sing to him a new song”). And Psalm 144:9 adds its voice to the chorus, “I will sing a new song to you, O God.” Why is this? Psalm 40 gives us a clue. The psalmist has “waited patiently for the Lord” for deliverance. God hears him, and rescues him, and one of the things God does for the psalmist is to “put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:3).
New songs are appropriate for fresh manifestations of grace. As God is gracious toward us and continues to wow us with grace, it is fitting that we not just sing old songs inspired by past grace, but also that we sing new songs about God’s never-ending grace. God will never cease to inspire awe in us about the breadth and depth and height of God’s love for us in Christ, and we get the joy of continuing to create and sing new songs of praise to God for it.
But I am not just talking about singing here. It is my hope and prayer that as we begin a new program year together, fully staffed with the addition of Rachael Huntley, that each of us might “sing a new song to the Lord” as we consider what it means for us to commit ourselves to God. How might we sing a new song through a renewed commitment to worship, stewardship, and education, to participating in Sunday School and youth groups, to being involved in mission and fellowship? I am excited what “new songs” we will begin to sing together this fall as God’s people gathered as “Rye Presbyterian Church.” And so, using the words of the Psalmist, I invite you, “Come, sing to the Lord a new song,” this fall.
Yours in Christ,