October 16 Sermon by Bill Bale

(editor’s note: While Christine attended the Kootenay Presbytery meetings in Fernie, Bill generously offered to officiate Sunday Worship)

GOD THE SINGER

So what does this mean?    “God the Singer.”

Do any of you hear God singing in your life?

Music permeates all God’s creation and embraces all humanity. Music is rooted in and evolves from God’s relationship with us and our relationship with God. Music shapes who we are and who we are becoming. Music is not inserted into worship but rather worship is musical.

We are a singing people. How we sing together and what we sing together reflects our faith, our church, our union with creation and our thoughts and feelings about one another and all humanity. Music empowers us to listen for God’s voice.  It enables us to praise God who has created and is creating. Music reminds us that we are loved by God and made for God.

The fullest expression of these truths emerges when a congregation sings. When we sing together barriers and categories are transcended. Gaps are bridged.  Differences are softened. When we sing our common heart song, we gain new compassion and mutual understanding.Song enables us to confess our brokenness and our falling away from God.

We have sometimes broken the melody, failed to be in tune – knowing this, we strive to rejoin the chorus. Song connects us to the music of the universe, and leads us to new creation. When we sing together with one heart and voice we ground ourselves in the spirit of, for and with the world.

The stewardship of the church’s song needs the voice of us all. New voices are thus awakened and nurtured. Old voices are renewed. Thanks be to God.

I have been a member of the choir and have enjoyed singing for many years.  I have found that singing is paramount in uplifting and refreshing my soul.  For awhile now I have had the privilege of singing at the Pines, here in Kimberley, and at the Green Home and Joseph Creek in Cranbrook.  In these places we often find people who are nearing the end of their journey in this earthly life.  Some have great difficulty even communicating.  What a delight it is to see a finger or a toe tapping or a smile cross their lips to the sound of music.

Music truly is a great unifier of all people – and it can bring joy to everyone.  It seems to me that God, in his infinite wisdom, would sing with praise in countless different ways to all of his people – helping them on their journey from beginning to end.

I believe the first time we hear the voice of God singing may be on our mother’s lap.  A mother gently, quietly singing to her newborn child – this is the epitome of God the singer to me.

(Terry – play a D for me please…)
“Here I am Lord,  
 It is I, Lord.  
 I have heard you calling in the night…”

Could God have been singing to the young boy Samuel — ever so gently and quietly as he slept — to let him know of his calling?  I don’t know for sure, but I feel good thinking that a God of Love would gently call a young boy to service way beyond his years.

Do you think God is a singer? Yes, we all know the angels sing their praises for Him, and that we often use music to express our adoration for God as well.  But what would give one the idea that God Himself sings? Zephaniah 3:17 reads  “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Just think of it !  God will quiet you with his love —that’s common knowledge.  We often quote Psalms 45:10 which reads, “Be still and know that I am God.”  In fact, the verse has become almost cliché.  It has become like a reflex to us to pray when things go wrong.  Why?  When life is falling apart, human nature is programmed to depend on a “higher power”…the very God who made us.  Deep within us there is a need to trust in God and the peace He gives.

The part of the verse that is rather surprising is the latter part: “he will rejoice over you with singing”  Who knew that God takes such pleasure in us that it brings music to His heart. and the notes actually escape His lips?!

Our God is truly an awesome God!  He spoke the world into being; He breathed life into Adam and Eve; He rebuked wind and waves;  He called the dead back to life; He whispers peace to troubled hearts; and yet, He also sings his joy over us!  There are so many reasons to serve a God like ours!  Can you imagine spending eternity  with someone like Him?  He died for us, but he doesn’t focus on the sorrow our sins created.  He was and is perfect, but He doesn’t focus on our mistakes.  We often complain about things beyond our control before we think to pray. but God Almighty uses His voice to sing rejoicing over us.  How truly awesome!

If your heart is troubled today, let it be quieted with the love of God.  If you are asking God to speak to you, expect something different from a booming voice; be prepared for music!  Listening for angels’ wings?  Listen closer.  Trying to hear the heavenly choir?  Tune in! The lead singer is our Heavenly Father!

So much wonderful music has been made throughout the ages.  In the Bible – flutes, lyres, harps and trumpets sing the praises of God.  Then through the ages – and I don’t know how – but is it possible that God may have touched the shoulder, or sang in the ear of a Handel, a Mozart or a Beethovan  as they brought the beauty of a masterpiece like the Messiah to life?  Even today, I believe God may be singing to many contemporary musicians who are still writing and praising – and in so doing, helping each of us on this our life’s journey.

 

God, we praise you.

We praise you for the stars, so vast in number we cannot count them, and for the earth, so firm beneath our feet.

We praise you for the prairie wind, a mirror of your Spirit, and the ocean waves, a reflection of your awesome power.

We praise you for the first breath taken by a newly birthed child and for surrounding us when we exhale for the very last time.

But even in our praise there lives a deep longing.

For as present as you promise to be in our lives we are too often unable to hear  your voice.

We yearn to hear your song, O God.

We are desperate to hear your word ringing in our ears.

How easy life would be if we could hear you as clearly as the call of a trumpet.

Commanding our attention we would leap and dance and spin in your presence, joyfully offering all that you ask of us.

And yet your song is so quiet… or perhaps our world is too loud?

Do we drown you out?

Do we fill our ears with other songs?

Do we refuse to give your voice the space and time it deserves?

We long to feel  your rhythm, God.

Like the steady beat of the drum we yearn to feel the vibration of your Spirit deep within our souls.

Guiding each footstep, inspiring each decision, leading the way on this path of life…. your drum beat would be easy to follow.

But we muffle it.

We dampen your rhythm until it is but a whisper, a mere hint of what it truly is.

We long to move within your harmony, God.

Even when our world is too loud and our living muffles your song, we long to move within your harmony.

We trust that you are the Eternal Singer.

Present on the first morning and in each moment of our living, you wait for us to join our voice to yours.

And when we do, the world changes, makes more sense, becomes more beautiful.

Help us sing your song.

Help us learn its words, its rhythm, it harmonies.

Help us sing it for others when they have lost their voice.

Help us remember the sacred words of your song, this song that has rung out since the beginning of time, this song that will continue long after our voices have grown old, this song that speaks to our own sacred centre.

We praise you, God the Singer.

We praise the music you pour into our living.

We praise the purpose you give to our worship.

We praise the power you lend to our hands.

We praise the energy you offer our souls.

We praise the holy voice, your voice, that is often too quiet for us to hear, but is there always, singing to our innermost being, calling us out to be better than we are, lifting us from the chaos that so often overwhelms, and giving us the harmony we need to live as your children.

Hear our songs this day, God the Singer, hear our prayers, and in your love… answer.

 

 

 

 

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