URC Daily Devotion Sunday 3 July 2022

Sunday 3 July 2022  Psalm 98
Sing, sing a new song to the Lord God
for all the wonders He has wrought;
His right hand and His arm most holy
the victory to Him have brought.
The Lord has published His salvation,
His righteousness has He made known;
He showed to every heathen nation
that judgement issues from His throne.
He has remembered all His mercy,
His truth declared to Israel;
the ends of earth have seen His glory;
His ways in majesty excel.
Then make a joyful noise before Him,
O all ye earth, His praises sing;
with loud acclaim let all adore Him
and let the joyful anthems ring.
Join to the harp your glad rejoicing,
a psalm of adoration bring,
with trumpet and the cornet voicing
a joyful noise to God, the King.
Let oceans roar with all their fullness,
the world and they that dwell therein;
proclaim Jehovah’s power with boldness,
exalt Him ever and again.
Let all the streams in joyous union
now clap their hands and praise accord,
the hills rejoice in glad communion,
and skip for joy before the Lord.
He comes, He comes to judge the people,
arrayed in truth and equity;
the world shall He redeem from evil,
and righteous shall His judgement be.
Dewey Westra, 1931
© 1987 Faith Alive Christian Resources
You can hear a congregation sing this here
Sing a new song to the Lord!  The urge to sing a new song is common in the Psalms, and I don’t know if you are already reminded of the battle lines drawn in your church about how acceptable it is for a worship leader to suggest singing a new song, one the congregation haven’t sung before.  Most of the grief is about tunes not words, you can get away with pretty much any words you choose as long as they know the tune!  I’ve sometimes been tempted to set a cake recipe to Bunessan and see if anyone notices.
The Psalmists, though, are not talking about tunes.  The Psalmists are discovering the joy of having new words to sing – new things to say about God.  Suddenly it’s a very different conversation.  God is doing something new, new songs will have to be written.  It’s not that the old ones need to be replaced, it’s that the old ones no longer cover everything we have discovered!  God’s hymnbook will always need supplements.
The United Reformed Church is 50yrs old this year and part of our celebration is a hymn/song writing competition.  As we look ahead to whatever future we might imagine we have, my prayer is that we won’t forever find ourselves mangling old words into new tunes to make them sound fresh, but rather we will find ourselves overflowing with joy, finding new words to describe the new things that God is doing in our lives and in the world.  Is God doing something new in your life, in your neighbourhood, in your church?  Almost certainly the answer is yes, but maybe you haven’t noticed?  Go out and have a look, but beware, you may find yourself singing in the street!
Loving God,
Our thirst for the new is almost insatiable;
New car, new phone, new hair, new gadgets;
New structures, new committees, new job descriptions, new initiatives.
Maybe that’s part of how we are made,
In the image of a God who is always doing something new.
May your Spirit point us to 
the compassion-expanding new,
The justice-deepening new, 
the love-enriching new.
May your Spirit always have a new song for us to sing.  


Today’s writer

The Rev’d Phil Nevard, Minister of Castle Camps URC, Whittlesford URC and Sawston Free Church.


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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