I was chatting to Goff Hope yesterday and he reminded my of a line in an old song we used to sing, and probably should be re-introducing! viz."I am a new creation" by Dave Bilborough.
The line was : "a lightness in my spirit". What a great expression.
I often witness the Redeemed carrying a heaviness of Spirit (which doesn't make sense?). I often watch people's expressions during praise times and there's a lack of lightness, a seriousness, a sense of striving, effort and pain. I look at classic pictures of modern worship scenes in magazines ,albums and invariably there's a shot of some poor soul reaching out in desperation. Maybe I'm passing a rash judgement and the desperation is a picture of devotion. I'd insist on having happy smiling faces on my album covers!
Jesus has made praise light and accessible. It is a sacrifice but not a burdensome one, a very light one. I wrote a song on this verse in Heb 15 which instructs us to offer up a sacrifice of praise. Doesn't sound heavy to me. The song's bridge is"oh what sacrifice -it is my joy my delight, what would I rather do than give glory to You" (I'm offering up -"Free indeed" album)
I've been meditating/song-writing on Psalm 42/3 and this line keeps coming up.
"Why, my soul, are you downcast?Why so disturbed within me?" But it keeps getting answered by "Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
Classic Hebrew poetry. Pose a problem and respond with the answer. I've read material by some worship dudes who stress that the Psalms are 70% lamenting, so we should have more laments in our meetings. At face value the Psalms do lament and root us in realities of life, however, we must always see the big picture and the poetry style is important when reading the Psalms. Our English versions don't tell the half of it. The intentions of the psalms would be to point us to hope, trust and praise in God.
Something I notice in the psalms is that they are full of responses of rejoicing and we are mostly told to sing JOYFUL songs, not just songs.
I do fear that many of our songs and styles/moods of music are melancholic middle of the road, not helping happiness. We should try and surround ourselves with happy tunes and not "coldplay" dirges! Sometimes we don't see the expression of dancing in church because we don't play danceable songs. Let's put ourselves in the place of joy and keep speaking to our souls ...why are you downcast? which leads me to:
Another thing when interpreting the psalms or even the Old Covenant.
We must interpret the Old "in view of the New". The Psalm writer/s would have been pointing ahead and not living in the light of the New Covenant in Christ, in whom we live and find hope, redemption salvation and all that's required. Jesus has made it easy, Matt 11 v 30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Psalm 103 v "He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;"We live in the good of this. Why are we lamenting.
We who live in a day of grace should be evidently full of joy, lightness of Spirit.
Let striving cease, come boldly, lightly, happily, freely before the King of grace and offer up a light sacrifice of praise. We serve a kind King, a sinners friend a loving Father who throws parties and puts on loud,wild music.
I am serious about what I believe but happy to be in the truth. I've just finished a song that is quite "heavy" theologically, regarding the cross and Jesus carrying our shame etc., but have written it with a dance, up-beat feel. I thought mmm...is it appropriate, but have concluded that I can sing about serious, even solemn things in a happy and light mood ...because the truth brings the lightness. We celebrate the truth of the cross and all it means in humility and joy.
If you must lament, do that bit at home, and let's live in the reality of Jesus an all H has done as we gather as God' people.Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say ...rejoice.
PS. I'm not trying to play down hardship sorrow, grief, disappointments. I remember the day when my dear friend and father in the Lord, Simon Pettit, tragically died of a heart attack while I was on a ministry trip with him in New Zealand, serving at a conference. Grief stricken, I abdicated leading the worship the following morning, in reality I was in no emotional state to sing, but by the evening time I actually offered to lead, and what a time of ecstatic praise we had. How could we have been ecstatic? Because of the new covenant. We realised that Simon's hope, our hope was all in Jesus, and amidst sorrow, he truly turns mourning into dancing ...and He did.
I do believe that our normal state of new creations, should be light, happy and care-free .
They say that smiling relaxes your face muscles ...give it a go!
Remember the Kendrick song ...
Let Me have My way among you
Do not strive, do not strive ...
As Psalm 46 v 10 says : 10"Cease striving and know that I am God;
Labels: Why are you downcast oh my soul.