This month during worship at Resurrection we have used Psalm 95 as our call to worship. Verse seven states, “For he is our God, we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.”
Thus the picture above sparked my imagination. As God’s sheep, we sometimes wish that we had a clear direct path to our lives. The railroad track is a set path that will not be moved easily. We want God to lay down our life’s tracks and make the path smooth without steep hills or broken rails. However rarely is our life so clearly defined and directed. And even when the rails are clear we may not be sure in which of the two directions to travel.
Upon further reflection, I am glad that my life is not set on such rails. Trains are great, but they are so limited in where they can go. They must follow the rails. As the sheep of God’s hand, we have a greater flexibility. After all Jesus told us that the Spirit of God (like the wind) blows where it will (John 3:8).
This week I am in the midst of experiencing how the wind of God blows. Last spring I planned to be heading north this week-end for a canoe trip in the BWCA. I scheduled a guest preacher and kept my calendar cleared. But last month the canoe trip was cancelled but I kept the guest preacher. Then two days ago I learned that the male chaperone for our youth mission trip had to cancel and the trip needed a replacement. So Thursday I am leaving, not for the BWCA, but for Denver to serve with our youth in a YouthWorks mission trip next week.
I will be writing more about the trip in coming posts. Right now I am thankful that my life in Christ is not set on some static rails, but has the flexibility to discover new paths. Like the sheep in the picture, I need to step away from the common track and set off on a new path of adventure.
Otherwise, I just might be smacked down by the oncoming freight train of routine.
Lord Jesus, guide me by your Spirit.
O come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Worship Team from Resurrection Lutheran Church
Music has such a joyful, liberating power. When we sing in worship it starts deep within us and then spreads and fills the whole room. Many of us love to sing; I see it on faces as worshippers sing praise to God. That is what draws many of people to Sunday worship–the joyous worship of our God. I am so thankful for Resurrection’s worship team who faithfully and joyous lead us in song each week.
But joyous worship is not limited to contemporary Christian music. Singing praises to God is as ancient as the Bible. One of the oldest pieces of song is from the exodus, when the Israelites escaped the Egyptian chariot army as they fled across the Red Sea.
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.” Exodus 15:1
The earliest church continued the Hebrew practice of singing praise to God. Paul encouraged the church at Ephesus, “but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts” (Ephesians 3:19). Throughout the centuries, the church has used song as a primary means of worship. Singing praises to God unites our heart with God’s heart.
Music has a way of touching and stirring our emotions that words cannot do alone. You can experience it at a concert, whether it is U2 or the Vienna Boys’ Choir. The power of song is a gift God gives us to express ourselves, whether we can carry a tune or not. After all, the psalmist commands us to make a joyful NOISE to God. Let us make some NOISE today!
What is one of your favorite hymns or spiritual songs?
Lord Jesus, help me make a joyful noise of praise to you this day.