From: Emmaus Road
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.
A Hymn Forgotten
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
While attending divinity school, I was asked to lead the women’s Pentecost service at the congregation where I worshipped, taught catechism class, and helped to lead the youth group. With some apprehension, I agreed, knowing that this would be my first time to preach.
In preparation for this service, I worked with a retired pastor who would play the organ for this service. In our phone conversation, we selected several hymns for all to sing.
When I mentioned one of those hymns, the pastor said, “Sing it for me, Gary.”
I was shocked and immediately said to him, “On the phone? Sing on the phone?”
Since the pastor had served for many years in a chaplain’s position in the mental health field, his reply was probing and challenging. He said, “Gary, people who don’t sing are in mental health institutions.”
So I sang the hymn on the phone to him, meanwhile thinking that I wasn’t a young man needing psychiatric care. I was just a little shy.
The day for the women’s Pentecost service arrived. The service was carefully planned, and the chapel was filled with worshippers. The retired pastor who helped me sing and plan the service was at the pipe organ keyboard in the loft at the back of the chapel.
I preached my first sermon, and I was glad when it was over. So I hurriedly walked to the altar to lead in prayer. As I began to pray, I heard a booming voice from the organ loft. The pastor, who was also the organist, shouted, “Gary, you forgot the hymn.”
I sheepishly turned around with my face as red as a fire truck. No real harm done. Just a rookie mistake. Calmly I said to all, “We’ll sing the next hymn.”
Even when we’re embarrassed and feel silly, God is still with us. He gives us a second chance to try again and chart another course. The Christ who was mocked, derided, and made a fool of on the cross will give the confidence to move forward again with a renewed faith. Even when we feel we’ve made fools of ourselves, we can sing again with new and joyful voices to the Lord.
O Lord, when we’re foolish, give us a confident faith to live again, serving you.
“Thine the Amen,” Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) #826.
Who gets the credit for the blessings of life? Who deserves the praise? Singing, “Thine the Amen,” we rightly focus our hearts on the God who creates, saves, and sustains us.
Musical Allegory, Rembrandt, 1626.
What are the instruments being played in this painting? Which person is conducting the musicians? What mood do the facial expressions convey about the music being played? Which musical instruments enrich our singing of praises to the Lord?