A Time for Something New
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . “ – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
In the 1960’s a band put the words of Ecclesiastes to music, and the world came to know them not so much as Scripture, but as song. Whenever I preach on this passage I see a faint look of recognition in the eyes of the congregation. And after church someone always says to me, “I didn’t know that was in the Bible . . . I thought it was just a song!”
I’m not sure anything is “just a song,” even a song. Music has the magical power of transcending time and space and, at its best, lifting us up into God’s presence. There’s a reason why music plays such an important part in our corporate worship. It’s not a performance; it’s praising God in an extraordinary language and helping others to do the same.
And yet, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I confess to making sure my microphone is turned off before each hymn on Sundays, and to mumbling along. I love listening to music; I’m just not that good at making it. I can pray out loud and preach all day long, but don’t ask me to sing.
Recently, though, I’ve begun to sing with less fear. I still don’t hit all the notes, but I at least join my voice with the congregation’s. Why? Because while music may not be my native tongue, I’m still invited into the song.
The same is true when people tell me they can’t pray because they’re “no good at it.” Whoever gave us the idea that prayer was something we had to be “good at”? Prayer is just about talking to God. And if I can sing, you can pray.
This Lent, we are invited into new relationships with God. In Lent we are invited to push past our fears and live our faith in new ways. We sing, we pray, we tell our truths in new ways. And we find that God is there, cheering us on.
God, for everything there is a season. In this season of transformation, give us the faith to connect to you in new ways.
Emily C. Heath is the Senior Pastor of the Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire, and the author of Glorify: Reclaiming the Heart of Progressive Christianity.