January 29, 2015

They Sang a New Song

Revelation 5

They sang a new song . . .

—  Revelation 5:9

She had Alzheimer's disease. Her memory had ceased to function meaningfully years earlier. My visits to her were brief; she didn't recognize me, and she would forget our visit before I reached the door. But she remembered the hymns she had learned in her younger days. When I would start to sing, her face would light up. Some days, she would even join in.

Music has a strong influence on our minds and souls. It accompanies our celebrations and frames our longings and sorrows. Just a few notes can remind us of an event from years ago or of someone we have loved.

The Bible is full of music. The Old Testament contains repeated calls to sing to the Lord, to praise God for his marvelous works. And in the vision recorded in Revelation we see God's people joining in "a new song" of unparalleled celebration for God's finished work. Jesus, the Lamb, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll representing God's plan for history and salvation. The song is "new" because the full scope of Jesus' work is finally visible.

Old songs about God's past goodness leave a good, deep impression. But God's work of renewing creation will prompt us to sing anew long after memories of other things fade.

Lord Jesus, you are worthy. You are the Living One. Your resurrection has brought new life to a dying creation. Give me words, too, to join in the chorus of praise to you. In your powerful name, Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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