Keep on Singing
The prisoners of Sing Sing, one of the most repressive, oppressive and dehumanizing penal institutions ever erected on the grounds of New York, were prohibited from singing during their incareration. The authorities felt that it would contribute to prison disturbance and ultimately, chaotic discord.
Unlike the prisoners of Sing Sing, the prisoners of Babylon were forced to sing. Judah had been invaded by the superpower Babylon, broken under the siege, and their beloved and holy Jerusalem had been crushed. The walls had been broken down, the temple demolished and the surviving Judean people taken helplessly to the homeland of the arrogantly victorious Babylonian army. In Babylon, their captors thought it amusing to force the defeated foreigners to sing hymns and religious songs in their strange language. But the prisoners were overcome by their loss and they asked, "How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?" (Psalms 137:4 NIV).
I believe those of us living in the 21st century can relate to the cries of the Judean prisoners. We often hear the term "globalization" which basically refers to the fact that the world has grown smaller and more interconnected. But has it? Many of us are finding ourselves in a strange land without traveling anywhere.
America has, in many, many ways, become alien to us, has it not? Technological, cultural, political, religious, agricultural, international changes make us all outdated and foreign as the decades speed by. Familiar landmarks, familiar customs, familiar traditions are things to be found only in the recesses of our memories. With so much of what was once familiar being replaced by the unfamiliar, we find ourselves living in a strange and alien land. The demands on us to "keep up," "buy this," "eat right," "raise your children this way," "take responsibility," "defy aging," "learn a second language," and so forth, has resulted in many of us finding ourselves residing on unfamiliar ground. How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?
If your experience is at all like mine, you wake in the morning to news of death in the Middle East, news of killings in our own back yard, and we go to bed with the same news, different characters. It wasn't so long ago that the New York Times reported a study that showed that people who followed the news carefully gets less sleep, particularly those who watch the late night news before going to bed. Our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles in Iraq are far from home risking their lives with no clear end in sight. We wait and watch the news not knowing exactly what to hope for except for the safe return of our loved ones. Many Iraqis must be feeling the same way. "By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion" (Psalms 137:1 NIV). All over the Middle East and elsewhere there are people far from home in alien territory wondering, How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?
The Christian community is always, in some sense, away from home; a band of exiles whose hopes are fixed on another home, the New Jerusalem. How can we, in the meantime, sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?
We sing because we must. It is not optional, it is obligatory. We must sing it as those prisoners sang it in the Japanese camps in the Pacific. We sing it as Black slaves did in the cotton fields of the south. We sing it as the Jews did in the concentration camps of Auschwitz. We sing it as the soldiers did in Viet Nam. We sing the Lord's song even though the world is not as it should be. We sing it to sustain us; we sing in defiance; and we sing it as a bold sign to the world of our hope in Jesus Christ.
As earth aliens, how can we raise our voices in song when the planet is stressed out and its people spiritually dislocated? We sing the Lord's song as a gesture of hope, as an act of trust and confidence that God is not finished with the human race yet. We sing the Lord's song not only to keep our spirits up, not only in defiance to show our dissatisfaction with the way things are, but we sing it in faith. We sing the Lord's song in the sure and certain hope that the God who has been at work all through human history is still at work and in full control. We will keep on singing, even with tears in our eyes, even with sorrow in our hearts, and even with heavy burdens on our backs.
We will sing the Lord's song because it is a song that defies present realities, refuses to accept that the world has the last word. We sing songs of peace and love, kindness and compassion, justice and equality. We sing, not of what is, but of what will be. We will keep on singing however far from home we may be.
As my preacher mentor and spiritual father used to tell the congregation, "Sing children, sing."
Saundra L. Washington, an ordained clergywoman and social worker, has practiced concurrently in the fields of social work and ministry for almost three decades. She is the Founder of AMEN Ministries, http://www.clergyservices4u.org and the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow, Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances, Homilies that Teach.
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
For the first time, a woman and non-Christian will lead this group that thinks government is too involved in religion - Washington Post
God is God
God is God and besides Him, there is no other. He is the Holy Other, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Lord of all creation.
God And World Religion: The Secret Identity Of "God" Exposed, Finally...
You may now have this 10,000 year Old "SECRET" that had been kept away from the general public by the "Power Elite" until now?Know the truth and set yourself free forever. Suffer no more.
A Call to Action
Over the last week I have received dozens of heart-rending and thought-provoking responses to my latest article, and I am thankful for each of them. Personally, I believe the tsunami and its aftermath is the most serious issue now facing humankind.
The Toilet Philosophy
Dr. Robins' observations are beyond mere intuition, they include an attunement with what Bucky Fuller called Synergistics; there is so much for mankind and modern science to learn about what the shamans and/or Druids knew and created.
You and Your Money: Are You Making a GIVING?
A young man who was attending my Coffee Bar Bible studies tossed a $20 bill on the table between us. He said something like "I haven't been sowing anywhere lately" and added that he felt my eMail ministry was as valid as any.
Being In-Between Religions
Who said religion has to last a lifetime?When I was in my thirties, people used to ask me what religion I was. I'd stutter a little bit and then explain that I was, by my own definition, "in-between religions.
The Christian Community Tries To Take Back What Belongs To Them!
"See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Is.
Resurrection Faith (Part 2)
Christ died. This is a historical fact not to be denied.
The Face of Deceit
Jeremiah 14:14-14:14. What is Deceit? The intentional misleading or beguiling of another; in Scripture represented as a companion of many other forms of wickedness, as cursing (Psa 10:7), hatred (Pro 26:24), theft, covetousness, adultery, murder (Mar 7:22; Rom 1:29).
Organized Religion is Great for Humanity; Rants from Lance
Organized Religion has served mankind well, by uniting civilization and societies for thousands of years. God bless organized religion indeed.
The Reign of Insanity
I know you want to kill me, and I wish to do all I can to help you succeed. Well? that would be insane, but what about this?I know you want to kill my children, destroy my country, and erase all historical evidence of our existence, and I want to do everything I can to help you achieve your goals.
The Gospel Of Convenience
The subject of this document is so unpleasing to the 21st century American Christian, I believe that by writing it, I will step across a threshold of "Main stream evangelical Christian", to a "radical", a "dissenter", "out there" and even "lost" in the eyes of some folks who read these words. So be it.
Living Proof: We are Living in the Days of Noah
A familiar phrase used in Bible prophecy is the term "Days of Noah." Jesus warned, "For as in the days of Noah before the flood, they were eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the very day Noah entered the ark.
Today I would like to share with you the word "Fellowship" as rendered from the Greek word in the New Testament in the KJV "Koinonia". The word is from the Greek root word "Koinonos", which is translated partaker five times, partner three times, fellowship one time and companion one time for a total of ten times.
Sex, Lies, & Videotape; Part 2
Acts 5:1-5:10 Sex, Lies and Videotape Part 2. Lies.
Better Worship - 12 Marks of an Effective Music Ministry
Small BeginningsMy first experience in music ministry happened fairly soon after I first picked up a guitar at 15 years of age. I knew about 20 chords and could play a few songs from a new songbook titled Scripture in Song.
Conserving Water at a Car Wash Fundraiser
If you use a pressure washer during your fundraiser you can wash twenty cars with one capful of soap in a two-thirds filled five-gallon water bucket. Of course your soap will be biodegradable.
Mirrors of Reality
Have you ever looked into a mirror and wondered what happened that changed you from the last time you looked?Good news! It really doesn't matter if it was a good change or not!Why not? Because you really aren't looking at something that's real! It's not only temporary but it's distorted!God's Word is Your Mirror of Reality We are told in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that God's Word gives us a clear picture of who we are and what we have been promised.When we look into that mirror we actually see the real reflection and as we do it more we become more and more like Jesus.
Abraham and the Leather Scroll
The Dead Sea Scrolls continue to be found and there are many interesting discoveries about the era and region to be found in them. One of the more interesting aspects of these finds has to do with a leather scroll that was written to seem as if Abraham had been its author.
The Holy Spirit is our Teacher
Now that we know God and Jesus want to release Their knowledge direct to us from Their throne room in heaven - how is this knowledge actually transmitted to us? This will now bring us into the next set of Scripture verses.These next three verses will tell us that this knowledge is given to the Holy Spirit - and then the Holy Spirit, who is already living on the inside of us, will be the one to transmit all of this knowledge to us! The Holy Spirit will thus become your personal guide and personal teacher in this life.
|home | site map|