A New Song

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.

With his right hand and his holy arm
has he won for himself the victory.

The LORD has made known his victory;
his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.

 He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel,
and all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

Shout with joy to the LORD, all you lands;
lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.

 Sing to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the voice of song.

 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
shout with joy before the King, the LORD.

Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it,
the lands and those who dwell therein.

 Let the rivers clap their hands,
and let the hills ring out with joy before the LORD,
when he comes to judge the earth.

 In righteousness shall he judge the world
and the peoples with equity.  Psalm 98.

The Psalm from today’s Lectionary offers us the perfect message as we near the end of the Easter season.  The Psalmist calls for every person, every nation, and all of creation to rise up in a joyful song of being known and loved by the God of Israel. We need “a new song” because God has done something new, something out of our experience.  Even the rivers will clap their hands as God’s judgment will set creation right.

The Sabbath, the day of rest, offers both Jews and Christians the principle occasion for giving praise to God.  Praise is a funny thing; it is not particularly useful and does not accomplish any particular thing.  Praise, therefore, is not a means to an end.  Rather, praise is the end.  We join together to acknowledge God and give Him thanks for no particular reason other than He is God.  And somehow, in that simple act of gratitude, the Psalmist tells us we will find our joy.

One of the reoccurring ideas in this psalm is the Lord’s “victory”, also sometimes translated as “salvation”.  In the original Hebrew, the word is Y’shua or yeshua.  That word is the basis for the name of the old Testament hero Joshua, and is anglicized as “Jesus.”  Viewed through a Christian lens, this psalm speaks of the victory God has won, offering us a wonderful Easter message.

Walter Brueggeman has observed, “In this literature the community of faith has heard and continues to hear the sovereign speech of God, who meets the community in its depths of need and in its heights of celebration. The Psalms draw our entire life under the rule of God, where everything may be submitted to the God of the gospel.”

In the life of Christ, God sang a love song to all of creation, a song through which all creation was made new.  This psalm invites us to share in that song, replying to God’s song with great gladness.  My prayer for all of us is that we join in that new song, in that love song, with happy voices and glad hearts.

Shabbat Shalom,

James R. Dennis, O.P.

© 2012 James R. Dennis

14 responses to “A New Song

  1. what would we do without a new day and a new song!

  2. The Lord has become our salvation…how powerful is that! “God” becomes salvation…. what victory too!
    The Lord bless you brother James…another fabulous blog post
    Paul.

  3. Dear Brother James,

    This post has particular meaning for me, because I’ve dabbled a little in musical composition. For me, each new song is a revelation in itself — a gift from God that not only enables me to express myself in ways I never have before, but also opens up new possibilities (for example, new chords or melodic structures I haven’t explored before). We do indeed need new songs to guide us into the new places God wants us to go. Thank you, as always, for your penetrating insights. (And a very nice picture!)

    Ron

    • Ron,

      While I’ve not done much composition, the psalm has spoken to me because I so dearly love music. (In another lifetime, I made my living as a musician.) Without a doubt, I encounter God in song.

      May the Lord bless you and keep you,

      Br. James

  4. The original title for my memoirs was going to be “Songs in the Night” because music has delivered my soul from despair many times. Have you read the sermon of the same title by Charles Spurgeon?

    I find that I praise those things that I love most, whether my sons, my friends, or my Savior. It flows naturally and effortlessly when I am stirred up with love…

    Thank you again for your beautiful messages.

    • Olive,

      I have not read that particular sermon by Spurgeon, although I’ve read others. I agree, the most genuine praise always begins with love.

      And, you’re most welcome.

      Grace and peace,

      Br. James

  5. “God sang a love song to all of creation” Love this!

  6. Noel Williams (prhayz) www.prhayz.com

    Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me. I bless His holy name. I thank you very much brother James for sharing the Word of God with me. I pray God will continue to bless and inspire you.

  7. What a joyful song! What a reminder too, that our praise is not just a ‘Sunday ritual’ that we must do, but a joy that we cannot help but participate in.
    Blessings this Sabbath day,
    Carole

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