Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Songs

One of my favourite Psalms is Psalm 40. It starts with these words:

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

There are many reasons I love this Psalm.  One of them is that when I became a Christian I was a big U2 fan, and it was only after I became a Christian that I realised that their song 40, which is on the end of their album "War", is these opening lines of Psalm 40 put to music. They used to finish every concert by singing this song, and I can still remember the only time I've ever seen U2 live being lost in a spiritual moment at the end of the concert, tears streaming down my face, singing Psalm 40 and thanking God that he'd heard my cry and set my feet on a rock.

Why, you may ask, am I telling you all this? Good question! Well it's because I think there is something powerful about new songs.  Old songs are great, but often new songs which are unfamiliar and fresh can help us engage with God in a way in which old songs can't. "Shout to the Lord" is an amazing song, but I've sung it so many times now that sometimes the words just become too familiar. And God is a God who is always doing new things, both for us as individuals and as a community, and we will need news songs to help us express those things.

So we as a community will be committed to singing new songs. Both great songs being written around the world, and great songs being written by the songwriters in our community. On Sunday we sang a new song, written by Dave Betts, based on King David's desert experience in Psalm 63 - you can read more about what caused Dave to write the song here. And for a real treat check out this acoustic version of the song "Drawing Near". We're aiming for our musicians to record two CDs a year of new songs, which we'll give away for free and put on the website. The next one of these, "This is Love", should be out around Christmas.

But I'm also encouraging our worship leaders to be singing what I call "old new songs". Helping us rediscover old hymns which many of us won't know, but which express some of the timeless truths about God in ways which will be fresh to us. Look out for some of those too in the coming months.

I pray that this week God will put a new song in your mouth!


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