We have a video of my then two-year old niece sitting in a university auditorium watching a choir and orchestra rehearse. She was bouncing around, climbing over and under the seats and just generally being a toddler. Then the musicians started practicing the Hallelujah Chorus.
Suddenly she fell utterly silent and still.
“What is that song?” she whispered, spellbound. “That song! I love that song!”
If music can soothe a savage beast, soothing a toddler’s nothing.
But here’s the thing: after a certain age, most of us like music we already know. Not much lights us up like that song we loved in high school, the one we danced to at our wedding, or the song that reminds us of summer vacation.
I’m in this category. If it was up to me my playlist would never evolve beyond Counting Crows, the Dave Matthews Band, and Norah Jones. (I know, right? I’m SO cool.)
Somewhere along the way, most of us begin to prefer the old to the new, the familiar to the exciting. Time wears down our childlike, innovative edges, and we start to hum just the same old tune.
Which is one reason this biblical song is so interesting:
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.
Why a new song? What’s wrong with the old ones?
Because living the life God calls us to is not about comfort. It’s about transformation.
We want to sing the same old songs, and God says, “Nope. I have new words for you today. A new melody. New rhythm. Trust me.”
When we sing these news songs, those around us take notice. In a world where everyone sings the same types of songs, whether those be songs about finding love, making money, or having adventures, God gives us words of love, truth, joy, and hope. Words of reconciliation, forgiveness, justice, and service.
When we let God put a new song into our mouths, we might be surprised at what we sing.
What words does he have for you?