Today’s game show is: Name that Tune or rather - we are going to play, Name that Hymn. I had a lot to debate with this one. We could play, name that scripture. Many of our hymns are based on scripture passeges. It is truly amazing how inspired people have been throughout the generations to take scripture and compose lyrics and music to God’s word. As we sing each Sunday, we are lifting up God’s scripture.
Name that Tune was first aired in the 50’s and had many variations to the game throughout the next several decades. The goal of the game was either to be the first to identify a song correctly, when played with two contestants, or in the individual round, to identify a set number of songs correctly in 30 seconds. So, today we are going to play our own variation – you, the congregation are the contestants – when you think you can Name that Hymn: yell out the name of the hymn. Here we go:
Joy to the World
Thine is the Glory
I've Got Peace Like a River
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Music connects to people at every age of our life span. When we are infants our parents sang to us lullabies as they rocked us to sleep. We learned the alphabet through song. And as we grow, we learn Bible Stories through song. That is one part of Vacation Bible School that I just love, learning the new songs and having them become a part of me at least for the next month or so. Do you ever get a song just stuck in your head? Many couples have their song. And sometimes when we hear a song it reminds us of a specific time of our lives or a special event. Be Thou My Vision was my seminary class song for graduation. My father had the lyrics framed for me and I have kept it in my office for years now. I can’t remember much of what I learned in school academically from middle school but I still seem to know every word to every song.
God desires for us to embrace God’s teaching into our very being the same way we do with song. Psalm 98 – Sing a new song to the Lord. The Lord has made salvation know to us, let us sing with Song – Joy to the World. At one point in time, that was a new song. I can’t imagine Christmas without it, but just a few hundred years ago, it was none existent written in 1719 by Isaac Watts. Sing to the Lord a new song. Name that Tune – each of us has a way to create music to our Lord.
Psalm 98 lifts up that not just will God’s people sing a new song, but all of creation sings forth a song to God. If we listen carefully, we can hear this new song on a daily basis. From the Grand Canyon to the Grand Tetons to the Jersey Shore; from birds to crickets to dolphins and whales, God’s creation sings forth beauty and awesomeness. Joy to the Word the Lord has come, let earth receive her king. And heaven and nature sing. Each of us, whether we are gifted with musical talents or not, can live our lives as a song to God.
There was a children’s show called Jack’s Big Music Show – and there was an Orchestra episode showing all the different instruments that come together to make one song. In a very real way, this congregation and all of its ministry teams are an orchestra to God. Each ministry has a song to sing, sometimes one group has a solo, but most of the time, we are playing together in unity, lifting up our gifts and service to God.
Paul is trying to connect this idea of all parts working together for the whole when he writes to the church in Corinth. People are identifying themselves with Apollos and with Paul, creating division. Paul reiterates how important it is to remember human tasks versus God’s tasks. Paul plants, Apollos waters, but God makes things grow. No matter what song we sing, no matter what church we build, Paul reminds us that the foundation that we build upon is Jesus Christ. In all ministries of our church, we seek ways to build people’s lives upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. Whether we do this through Sunday School lessons, Bible songs, mission opportunities, each of these exists as an expression of creating community, fellowship, and a foundation for faith growth and development.
Sing a new song to the Lord, we are so blessed in this place to have so many opportunities in which we can build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. Together, we are God’s orchestra and together we are building upon the love of God made known in Jesus Christ, and as we build and as we grow each of us is a holy temple to God. When I think of a holy temple I think of a place of worship and when I think of a place of worship I think of music. Name that Tune – name the song that your life sings to God. Claim the new song that you will sing to our loving God, whether it be through singing in the choir, volunteering at the Habitat build, helping with fellowship time, or studying scripture, and remember that your song joins together with the entire orchestra of God’s people. Amen.