Family Liturgies

Psalm 98: Sing a New Song!

by Lynace Pabst Veit

sing-to-the-lord

Scripture: Psalm 98 (NRSV)
1 O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
2 The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
8 Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
9 at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.

Reflection
In our house we sing. A lot. Whether it’s “Jesus Loves Me” on the way to school, an “Amen” after our dinner prayer, or the bedtime story that grandma gave us, it seems like we are always singing. My husband and I were both music education majors in college and while we both have gone on to different callings, music still plays such an important part of our everyday lives. Some of the most fun we’ve had as new parents has been when we’ve created new songs to sing to our son. We’ll take phrases from pop songs or hymns and put new words to them or use them to fit whatever mundane task we happen to be doing at the time. They are usually off the cuff, improvised, and silly. Sometimes I’ll sing “Now put your hands up” from Beyoncé’s Singles Ladies while dressing my two-year-old or my husband’s favorite, Dancing Machine by the Jackson 5, when my son is dancing around the living room. Another favorite of ours is “I like diaper butts and I cannot lie…” but it continues to be a work in progress. (Maybe we just lack the poetic gift that Sir Mix-a-lot has…) Whatever the task, it seems that singing together not only makes it more enjoyable but that we were purposefully made to sing and create.

Psalm 98 calls creation to praise God. It reminds us of God’s steadfast love, faithfulness, and that he has done marvelous things. This Psalm reminds me to praise God with all that I have and to celebrate God’s continual presence in my life and the lives of the people I love. God has done and continues to do marvelous things within us and through us, why wouldn’t I join the mountains and hills to sing a new song?! And while that phrase from Single Ladies may not exactly be a hymn of praise I sing it because God has done this marvelous thing by giving me a squirmy two-year-old to dress in the morning. I sing because God’s love is steadfast on those mornings I’m running late because I forgot the diaper bag and I feel like I don’t have it together as a working mom. I sing because God has made known his victory and continues to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Family Activity
Read the book Earth & All Stars. Using the hymn text written in 1964 by Herbert F. Brokering, illustrator Preston McDaniels creates a little boy who travels around his community (God’s creation) and declares the repeated refrain, “Sing to the Lord a new song!” He travels through buildings and nature highlighting the different ways God is at work in our everyday lives. As a family, go for a walk or drive around your neighborhood or community. Take turns shouting, “Sing to the Lord a new song!” whenever you see evidence of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness at work in your town. Maybe you’ll pass by the newly renovated hospital, maybe you’ll see children playing in the neighbor’s yard, or maybe a bird’s nest filled with baby birds. Whatever you see, remember that God is there and that these are little every day reminders for us to “Sing to the Lord a new song!”

Wondering Together
I wonder what “new song” you could sing today?…
I wonder where you see God transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary?…
I wonder how you will join the mountains and hills to praise God?…

Prayer
Marvelous God,
You have done wonderful things!
We praise you with a new song,
We play our trumpet and horn,
We join the waters and mountains
to sing your praise.
May we see your glory every day,
in all we do,
and in all those we meet.
Amen.

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