Let’s start with a fun fact that I learned in my undergraduate studies in education:
everyone is born with the ability to sing.
Why this is? Who knows. But it seem that one of the intervals we are born with the ability to sing is a minor 3rd. Be it a child intoning “nanny-nanny boo-boo” or an arena full of basketball fans mockingly chanting, “aiiiir-ball, Aiiiir-ball”, we all to one degree or another can sing.
Now, that ability might not get nurtured or somehow we think our ability is something to be embarrassed about, saving it only for singing in the shower. Its almost like an amnesia sets in.
A very similar thing happens with our life. One of the more central, and yet wonk-ier, aspects of Christian theology is this concept of the Image of God. Now, we all know that we are made in God’s image. Each one of us wonderfully and beautifully. Then sin enters the equation. As United Methodists we say, contrary to most, that this image is obscured to the point where we can’t recognize the Image of God in us. And so we forget.
And here’s this wonderful story contained in this familiar story of Jesus and Nicodemus. Where Nicodemus is reminded that we need to relearn. One way of looking at this story, it seems that its a universal that
we forget to sing we forget the song of our life… Jesus.
And much like a teacher teaches a new song by reflectively lining out the phrases, Jesus sings to us today this, in effect love song, of how much God loves us and the degrees to which God will go to help us begin to not just fathom but internalize the depth of that love for us. In doing so, the Image of God in us is restored. We remember who we are and the legacy we are adopted into.
Which leads to a question:
having heard Jesus line out to you, verse by verse the degree to which God loves you, giving you voice to sing anew, what will you song be?
Today is the day when we recognize peace with justice Sunday, when we sing again to one another the songs and words that remind each other in the world that God stands on the side of the oppressed. We remember that, as one far far wiser said, that the arch of history bends towards justice. Today we remember our song, too. What will your song be?
- Will it be a song of thanksgiving?
- Will it be a lament?
- Will it be a song of praise?
- Will it be a protest song?
- A song of hope?
- A song of peace
- Who knows, maybe even a love song.
- Maybe even a song that has no words.
- in traditional form, or
- maybe its a pop song.
- Maybe its hip hop, or
- maybe its country.
- Maybe its a familiar song that you’ve heard before or
- maybe its an original score.
- Maybe its a mash up… something old, something new.
Whatever the case, hear again friends this invitation:
You have this wonderful, God-given ability to create something beautiful and inspiring. So sing. Sing the song to God and to the world you have been given.
And another observation. We as a congregation have a song, as well. Sometimes its slower than we like, sometimes it sounds foreign on our ears, sometimes not as many voices are carrying the lead. Over the years, we’ve altered the tune, changed the words to make them more inclusive, of course.
But the song remains. While we are in this season of our church trying to discern the path which is our future, I know it can be scary, anxious, troubling. In the midst of all this, lets remind each other to faithfully sing. We sing remembering that we’ll continue to change, maybe its like the two versions of The Church’s One Foundation with different lyrics or the two tunes to Crown Him With Many Crowns, or maybe its like the Mash Up that includes the hymn Amazing Grace with the Praise Song Amazing Love.
Whatever the case, its going to be new, its going to be different. Its going to be same. Its all the song that Jesus taught and still teaches.