An Oldie but Goodie
Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my victory.” – 1 Samuel 2:1 (NRSV)
Hannah’s song is her emotional and spiritual response to God answering her prayers for a child—a son. Finally! Finally, God has answered.
And Hannah rejoices. She sings aloud. She is victorious and cannot contain her victory.
The beauty of her song is that it is not just all about her. Like a great lyricist, Hannah translates her victory into victory for all people who are experiencing oppression and hopelessness.
Her song of victory is a song of hope for others praying and waiting on God to show up and do something.
Hannah doesn’t receive her gift and run with it, going about her business. She shares the gift of a prayer answered by using her song to gift those around her with hope and possibility and renewed faith.
I feel it when I read it. This song washes over me—like an oldie but goodie.
Maybe I am not the only one who needs a song to take me to a time and place filled with promise and triumph. To remind me of the things I have already won. Of the possibility that victory is still mine. Still ours.
We are called to sing a new song—to tell our story—our collective story. But when the weight of the world gets to be too much, and all you can do is hold on to the oldies but goodies…baby, that’s alright…
Because hold on we must.
In the midst of chaos our hearts exult like Hannah’s, because you, O God, have done marvelous things. We believe in your promise of love and stand in your power of redemption as we boldly sing, ¡Aleluya!
Marilyn Pagán-Banks serves as Pastor of San Lucas UCC, Executive Director of A Just Harvest and Adjunct Professor at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.