Second Wednesday of Lent – Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March 20, 2019  

Psalm 27

A few months ago, during Come for Supper, one of our guests entered the back door of the stage, uncovered the Steinway piano, and began to play. I didn’t recognize him as a regular guest, so went over to the piano to talk to him. I suggested it was important that, before he played the piano, he should ask if it is ok to do so. He agreed that asking would be appropriate. With my permission he continued to play.
His music was pleasant to listen to. Some of what he played I recognized, some I did not.
After finishing one piece, he waved me back up onto to the stage. I stood next to the piano bench where he sat. He asked if he could “play me” a song he wrote. I said “Yes.” He began to play. And to sing.

There is a God who loves me,
Wraps me in his arms.
That is where I belong.
That is the place
I am strong.

That gentleman continues to come to Come for Supper and continues to play.
His name is Mark.
He has a gift, the gift of music.

It is written in Psalm 27:6

Even now my head is lifted up
Above my enemies who surround me.
Therefore I will offer sacrifice in the sanctuary,
Sacrifices of rejoicing;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Some of you might remember our former Bishop, April Ulring Larson.
Do you remember when her son Ben was killed in Haiti?
He died nine years ago.
Ben and his wife Renee and his cousin Jon were in Haiti teaching theology. While at the St. Joseph Home for Boys the earthquake hit. The three of them panicked and started to run. Ben stopped, hugging a pillar in the middle of the floor. Renee turned and saw concrete begin to fall on him. She ran toward him. Then the two floors above them collapsed in on them all. They were trapped.
Renee and Jon got out on top of the rubble. Renee began calling for Ben and could hear him singing from somewhere below. She told him she loved him. She told him to keep singing. Then his singing stopped.
The last words he sang were “God’s peace to us we pray.” (La Crosse Tribune).

Even now my head is lifted up
Above my enemies who surround me.
Therefore I will offer sacrifice in the sanctuary,
Sacrifices of rejoicing;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

*****

There is a God who loves me,
Wraps me in his arms.
That is where I belong.
That is the place
I am strong.

****

Music sooths the soul. Music heals wounds.
Music eases pain. Music frees us.
Music is medicine, a gift from God that can carry us to God.
We are carried on a note… on a sequence of notes. Carried through pains, through fears, through threats…

Imagine the writer of the 27th Psalm, hiding in the Temple in Jerusalem. The writer has been persecuted; the writer feels threatened. The writer’s enemies are surrounding him or her.

Then the writer sings. The writer makes music to the Lord (Psalm 27: 6).

You do not have to be a talented musician to sing to God.
Singing to God demands nothing but faith, faith in the God to whom you sing.
Faith in the God who gifts us with music that heals us, music that sooths us, music that eases our pain, music that frees us.

I know, we as a group do not sing. But we could. More importantly, you can, at least when you are somewhere private.
Or, if you can’t bring yourself to sing—
Think of the many others who will sing for you.
Think of the angels, singing songs of praise to God.
Think of the man who sat at the piano and sang to me:

There is a God who loves me,
Wraps me in his arms.
That is where I belong.
That is the place
I am strong.

God loves you. God’s arms are wrapped around you. You are strong.
Amen.