The Reason Why We Sing

But I will sing of your might, I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been a fortress for me and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to you for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. Psalm 59:16-17 (NRSV)

 

June is Black Music Month. Music is a cultural expression of art that allows for a reflection of society and serves to remind us who we are, what we are experiencing, and how the journey called life is impacting us. Whether it is Anita Baker, Tupac, 50 Cent, Prince, Luther, or Hubie Blake, the music they have produced is reflective of their era and expresses sentiments of segments of their lives.

For the Easter People, the body of Christ, music has long been a part of our lives. In particular, those of us, blessed to have been kissed by the Sun prior to birth; people of color, music has been our rhythm of life. The ebbs and flows of our existence and the relationship we have with God overflows from our lips. We sing, we shout, we dance, and cry all at the same time as we celebrate the goodness of God. We are extroverts when it comes to worship and praises. There is no holding us back, we will sing. While we all differ in our praising, we are hard-pressed not to have a song in our hearts or lyrics that have helped us make it through.
 
In Psalm 59, we find the expression of one who faces multiple challenges of life. He has enemies. He’s facing bloodthirsty evil and his life is abounding in strife. He seeks deliverance from God. The tongues of those who have oppressed him try to steal even the joy and comfort of prayer, by telling him that no one is listening to him. They breathe out cruelty.

The psalmist seeks God’s protection. He does not seek to destroy his enemies for he says, if they are destroyed the people will forget. What is he saying? Perhaps he is reminding us that trouble comes, and sometimes it stays longer than we like, but in God, we have a refuge, a fortress that not only protects us but is stronger than any enemy we face. The psalmist is trying to pray away trouble. He’s trying to cope with his situation. And after sharing all of his grievances with God, he says that he will song?

 

Yes, he will sing! In the face of trouble, in a world that is confused, he is going to praise God. He will sing about the steadfast love of God. He will shout aloud about the might of his God and the fortress that has been his refuge. Perhaps, as our ancestors sang “steal away, steal away to Jesus”, they were singing about the fortress that allowed them to deal with oppression.

Perhaps when the blues players depicted their trying lives, they were speaking to God about their realities. The connection is often made between gospel music and the blues. Our young rappers continue to remind us of the trial and tribulations of life. Some of the greatest poetry of our time is being written and expressed in their music. Often misunderstood, it is an art form that is doing what music has always done for us; expressed our innermost feelings. If ones experiences are violent and vile, the music might come out that way. Don’t blame the messenger, correct the situation.

 
But for those of us on a faith walk, the psalmist reminds us that God is still in control. We have a reason to sing, a reason to praise, a reason to shout. God is still our refuge and still a present help in a time of trouble. We should sing and glorify his Holy Name.
 
Music is a vivid part of our worship. God is the reason we sing. Praise him!
 

Pastor Jones