Ps 98:1, 4-9
Sing a new song to the Lord;
he has done wonderful things!
Sing for joy to the Lord, all the earth;
praise God with songs and shouts of joy!
Sing praises to the Lord!
Play music on the harps!
Blow trumpets and horns,
and shout for joy to the Lord, our king.
Roar, sea, and every creature in you;
sing, earth, and all who live on you!
Clap your hands, you rivers;
you hills, sing together with joy before the Lord,
because God comes to rule the earth.
God will rule the peoples of the world
with justice and fairness.
Acts 10: 44-48
While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who were listening to his message. The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with Peter were amazed that God had poured out his gift of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speaking in strange tongues and praising God’s greatness. Peter spoke up: “These people have received the Holy Spirit, just as we also did. Can anyone, then, stop them from being baptized with water?” So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay with them for a few days
It never ceases to amaze me the number of new songs created, enabling new generations to express themselves with delightful diversity and in ways relevant to their situations. Psalm 98 is as relevant today as it was when sung in ancient times. The Spirit raises new songs in our souls, for praise, worship, joy and lament, even when we are so spent or saddened to have no words of our own. Across creation, new songs and sounds are brought forth, expressing so much more than our thoughts.
Peter reminds the ‘emerging Church’ that God’s Spirit is poured out on all believers. Who are we to withhold the physical expression (Baptism with water) of the invisible Divine experience? Too many times in Churches, we expect all to worship and pray, ‘singing’ from the same ‘song sheet’ with the same ‘melody’. Each denomination offers particular expressions of worship and prayer. The Spirit however, sings through us all, creating a welcoming harmony as our own Spirit-song blends with the whole people of God. Through Receptive Ecumenism, let us share in the delightful harmony we experience together as God’s people.
Our song of lament cries from deep within our souls!
As Churches, we have often sounded in discordant judgement,
alienating spiritual seekers hoping to hear Your song of love.
Over matters of practice and purpose,
we have acted with prejudice, rejection and condemnation.
We are sorry that we have not listened to your ballad.
We are sorry when we insert lyrics which do not speak of your love.
resonate deep in our souls today,
so that we may hear the harmony of God’s creation.
Help us attend to, and understand, the breadth of Your love,
shared through the diversity of flora, fauna, lands, oceans and cultures.
Let your song of compassion for all God’s creation,
reverberating through the miniscule to the mighty,
open our ears to the richness of living in harmony.
For we may be a small part of the whole,
yet, each tune that is raised, echoes across the millennia.
May each note we bring add to the joyful harmony of living with Your song. Amen
John 15:17 This, then, is what I command you: love one another