Psalm 96 is another call by the psalm songster to sing, yet again, a new song.
Trouble is (quite apart from the fact the we are not actually singing the set psalm 96 this week) we actually like the old songs best. You remember words and tunes you learned as a young person, while other more recent tops of the pops are recognisable but not much else. You go to a party and someone has a guitar. Which songs can you sing? Not the latest and greatest in the weekend magazine, but the hit parade of youth, or perhaps when you were courting, perhaps the ‘standards’.
A new song?
With a new psalm popping up each week, it’s almost impossible to get a familiar groove going. We try to do this by threading the theme of a responsive tone and refrain through our weekly singing; or using a familiar response with new words retro-fitted; or just relishing the lovely voices of our familiar singers, hardly operatic in style but all dedicated to telling the stories and presenting the songs of the psalter. We smile at familiar tunes like ‘Rivers of Babylon‘ (shades of Bob Marley) or Paul Stookey’s Building block.
The quest is to find a tune that suits the text, the message of the psalmist. Sometimes the ‘new song’ comes in to play as your Webmaster ranges around picking up something from centuries gone by, something from Latin America’s glorious rhythms, or a reworked folk and blues. So much great music, so little time.
This week, the theme of our reflections under Trish‘s thoughtful and experienced leadership, is resilience and trust.
These themes are frequent visitor via the songs we sing each week. The psalmists often ask ‘How long must I wait?’ For justice, for deliverance, for answers or comfort… Silence can be deafening, listening for assurance that someone cares. Try Psalm 13, or 31 or 130 (nothing to do with combinations of the numbers 1 and 3). This Sunday, it’s time to roll out Psalm 13 after two years gathering dust in the Dropbox cupboard:
How long have you forgotten me O Lord? (Ps 13:1)
Patience is an important element of resilience. And, remembering earlier comments on the subject, a blues feel is quite in order. For Steve Bell’s rendition of this song, see the Styles page and scroll right down; we won’t go quite so get-down bluegrass. Every time we reinterpret an oldie and goodie, voilà it becomes a new song.
For SWUC: Continue reading