We are required to sing.
The spoken word sometimes is not enough for us to express ourselves. We break out a favorite hymn while in the kitchen. We sing joys, laments, sorrows, and anger in country, blues, and spiritual songs. The words and melody speak to us, and we, in turn, sing out an expression of joy, hope, and even despair.
Ballads have been a tradition of storytelling from the whaling ships to the plantation working fields to modern-day musical artists singing songs that tell us something about themselves, i.e., Johnny Cash, Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis,” Loretta Lyn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” These might jog the memory to remember there is a story here, as in many pop culture songs. And many become ‘our song.”
Lesson given. But it is the psalms that also have told stories. The Joseph story of him being sold by his brothers into captivity who return to him, repent, and are forgiven. We forgive as God forgives.
Psalm 105 for today and many other psalm stories were told to keep the stories in the present. Just as songs speak to the singer’s experience, the psalms do likewise.
But the Psalms are God’s words said back to him.
So, our prayer life makes a remarkable change; when we sing out our emotions or sing out our prayer psalms, we give back to God the joys and sorrows and all the rest of our pile of contradictions that are us.
Psalm 105:2 begins: Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.
No matter the vocal quality. We sing together, and those who aren’t singing or not inclined to join in will feel the spirit move through them, and they, too, can’t keep from singing.
All together now….
I will sing to the Lord all my life. Sing psalms to my God while I live. May my thoughts be pleasing to him. I will rejoice in the Lord. Bless the Lord, O my soul! (Adapted from Bernard J. Camiré, SSS, Praise God in His Holy Place. Psalm 104, page 48)