Our acts of piety are instruments that, by the grace of God, do the work of aligning our heart, mind, soul, and body to values, priorities, and activities of the kingdom of God. (Rowell – These Forty Days)
My son plays the trumpet. He also plays the guitar and he twangs a bit on the ukelele. I have overheard him playing a little on the keyboard that his mother uses to practice for church and he sounded pretty good on that too. If all goes well he will make the transition from trumpet to tuba for the marching band next year and I am so excited. I would bet he could also play the drums, the kazoo, and maybe the triangle without a single lesson. The kid seems to have some talent in his fingers that only his mother’s side of the family could have provided and my side is very, very thankful.
Not all of us will play an instrument (or 4) in life. Not all of us will have the interest or the discipline to try it. Music and the making of music will escape the ability and imagination of many of us. God help us because music has a way of touching our hearts and rubbing our soul in very meaningful ways. It is highly likely that those who never express themselves or experiment with music fail to be formed in ways that effect the body, mind, and soul. Playing a song or writing a song is a way of expressing something very deep within one’s soul that without such expression would be left to bounce around internally and break things. The song inside of us that is left unplayed or unwritten might very well break our heart, break our spirit, or just plain ole break us down.
Such is the Christian life.
What God has put inside of us with the presence of His Spirit is meant to break free from us in ways that enrich everything around us with faith, hope, and love. As we act faithfully and fervently our lives are singing a song – a God song – to the world around us. Such a God song projects what we know to be true about God through personal experience. We know that God is loving, kind, compassionate, forgiving. We know that God is able, sovereign, just, and certain in all things. We know that God is Father, Son, and Spirit. We know that God is in us, with us, and for us as we live and die. We know that “greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.” We know this and we believe this and by the grace of God and the willingness of our spirit our lives sing this to others.
And when our lives don’t sing such a God song we are quite likely singing the song of another god. That song for other gods are songs of sin, selfishness, shame, failure, fear. Those aren’t songs worth singing or writing. Those songs sound like broken down tunes without meaning or melody. Those songs need to be taken out of print and taken off our playlist as soon as possible and replaced by the song that our God is wanting to play. His song makes beautiful music and touches us (and others through us) in deep and meaningful ways.
Make no mistake. The song is God’s song. It is not a song about how great we are or how holy we are. It is a song about Him – His grace, His holiness, His greatness. We bring nothing to the song. He writes the song, publishes the song, conducts the song through His collection of instruments, and finally plays the song through us. He is all the talent. We are only His instruments to be used in making heavenly music. And when He plays…
Bravo, Bravo, Bravissimo!
Join God’s band/orchestra/symphony today. Confess sin. Turn away from shame. Quit living in alternative ways. Trust in Him to be the Savior He promises to be. Let Him change your heart. Rest in Him. Abandon the bad music you are making on your own. Play only God’s song from this day on.
Lent 1/ February 22, 2015————————————————————————
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who is the man who fears the Lord?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
13 His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
14 The friendship[b] of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.
22 Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all his troubles.