DayBreaks for 6/29/15: A Strange Song in a Strange Land
Galen is traveling and today’s DayBreaks is from the 2005 DayBreaks archive:
Ps. 137:1-4 – Beside the rivers of Babylon , we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. We put away our lyres, hanging them on the branches of the willow trees. For there our captors demanded a song of us. Our tormentors requested a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? (NLT)
This past Saturday, my wife and I took my sister and her two boys from our town over to the California’s Mendocino coast. As highway 128 winds its way to the beautiful coastline, it cuts through Navarro state park. In the park are some redwoods and we like to stop and wander among the mighty trees when we drive to the ocean. This Saturday was no different, and finding a good spot to pull off, we all hopped out of the car and explored a part of the redwood forest. Since it had been raining for a couple of days (very unusual for California in June!), the forest floor was spongy and soft and the damp smell of redwood humus was thick in the air. It was very refreshing, and the boys (ages 9 and 5) dodged from tree to tree, climbing where they could, discovering what redwood forests are all about.
At one point, I wandered a tiny bit away from the rest of the explorers and found myself alone amongst the behemoths. It was quiet, the only sound to be heard was the song of the birds in the wooded canopy. For about 10-15 seconds, I was able to stand there in complete stillness and soak in the sounds that these huge trees have heard all their lives. The wind in the upper reaches of the trees, the melodies of the birds as they flitted joyfully from one branch to another. But then something else happened: one of the boys cried out in delight over some discovery, and the spell was broken. But as I heard it, I thought of the passage from Psalm 137. I was smitten with the idea of how foreign the sounds that we humans make in the woods must be to trees, ferns, and the living things of the forest.
The captive Jews found it impossible to sing one of the songs of Jerusalem, of Zion, while held in Babylon. For a people who were known for their joyful celebrations and singing, it was quite a statement: “We put away our lyres…how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” Here’s what I thought:
FIRST: we, as Christians, must sound very foreign to this world when we speak of virgin births, turning water into wine, healing the blind, raising the dead, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of eternal life for those who accept Him by faith. Surely, we sound as out of place as a boy’s shouts in the woods. But the sounds of my nephews were no less real sounds of life than those of the birds. They were just a different language. And while they sounded out of place in the stillness of the moist, cool redwood forest, surely their squeals of delight pleased the Maker as they celebrated His creation.
SECOND: as the Jews found it difficult to sing God’s songs in a foreign land, we can also find it very hard at times to sing the Song of Moses and the Lamb in a world that doesn’t understand our language. It isn’t just that they don’t understand our language, we believe they don’t want to hear it, and that’s what makes it difficult at times to sing the Song. But we do the world an injustice when we keep the Song to ourselves. There are those who will hear it and find joy in it, freedom and wind to lift them up and let them fly again. If we don’t sing the Song, who will? If we won’t sing it now, when the world needs it the most, when will we sing it? It is the song of the ultimate freedom, of ultimate love, of peace, joy and hope. It is the Song that this strange land called earth so desperately needs to hear! Will you sing it?
Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>
PRAYER: Lord, we live in very strange times and in a strange and foreign land, far from our native country. Let us live as your children while here so others may know your goodness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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