The Message, May 29, 2022, "Be the Song"

The Message, May 29, 2022, "Be the Song"

Author: Rev. Scott W. Cousineau
May 31, 2022


“Be the Song”
A Message by Rev. Scott W. Cousineau
Psalm 98

            I am under no illusion when it comes to why people come to church. I know that a certain percentage of people go to church because that is where their friends are. It is all about the fellowship. And that is okay! It is important to have a faithful community of support.

            I also know that a certain percentage of people attend worship because of the music. Not the message … the music. And that is okay too! My ego is not shattered. (Dented a little.) Music speaks to us. It evokes memories and emotions. Music soothes us, comforts us and calms us. It inspires us and lifts our spirits. Music instructs us. Think of all of the childhood songs that you learned in Sunday school classes and summer camp. How many Bible stories did you learn singing about them?

            That is part of the story behind the psalms. The psalms were the worship book of the Hebrews. They helped the people through difficult times, they helped them along the way as they travelled on pilgrimage, and they helped them celebrate the wonderful times in their lives and their history. And the psalms helped them remember the words of their faith, just like those first songs we learned in Sunday school.

            Psalm 98 is a kingship psalm. It celebrates God’s victory over the enemy. God delivered the people from their exile in Babylon. God defeated the Babylonian king and set the people free! The children of God returned to Israel. They rebuilt the Temple that had been destroyed. They restored their homeland. This psalm sang their joy. It sang their thanksgiving. This psalm sang of the mighty power of God!

            And all the world rejoices! Even nature rejoices at the power of Almighty God!

            And God did more that save the Israelites. Defeating Babylon set other nations free as well! The psalm sings that God’s sovereignty is for all people. The whole world sings God’s praise!

            Even those who do not know God or believe in God; those who do not realize that they have a relationship with God benefit from God’s love and care for the world. All nations benefited from the defeat of Babylon. All people benefit from, and dwell in, the providence of God.

            Love and righteousness are the bounty that we receive in God’s victory over the forces of chaos and evil. Faithfulness and thanksgiving are our response to God’s gifts of light and joy. We live differently, we dedicate ourselves to lives that repudiate evil because God has given us the ultimate gift … love.

            The Hebrew scriptures looked back at their history and celebrated God’s activity in their collective lives. And they looked forward. God will continue to do marvelous things in their lives and in the world. God will make all things new!

            I began by talking about the power of music. Those who know me, know that music and I have a powerful relationship. Sometimes I think in rhythms and write as if I am writing lyrics. Like many people, music resonates with something deep within me. It evokes strong emotions.

            Some of my friends and colleagues, the music directors that I have had the privilege of serving with, know how often I cry during worship. I always try to have a box of tissues handy. I love the music of worship too!

            I weep listening to music that delivers meaningful messages. I weep when I listen to music that is simply beautiful. If you could spy on me at home, you would see how often I cry watching inspirational performances. Just yesterday I was crying as I watched a video of a young man that has lost his sight as he sang, Andra Day’s song, “Rise Up.”

            This morning’s psalm asks us to ‘make a joyful noise!’ Sing our praises to God! Sing thanksgiving to God! And we know that our world could use a joyful noise right about now.

            Originally, I planned to use “Make a Joyful Noise!” as the title for this little reflection for that very reason. The world needs to hear our songs of joy. But after the events of Tuesday, in Uvalde, Texas, I realized that the world needs to hear the other songs that we can offer.

            Our world needs songs that speaks to its soul.
            We need songs of peace.
            Our divided world needs to hear songs of unity.
            Those huddled in the shadows of sorrow needs songs of comfort.
            Those searching for a path forward need songs of hope, songs of inspiration.
            Those fighting for their rights and the rights of others need to hear songs of justice.
            Those who are lost or are searching for meaning need to hear the songs of our faith.

            Elizabeth Achtemeier wrote a sermon titled, “God, the Music Lover.” In her message, she asserted that God created the whole universe so that it would vibrate in rhythm with God’s own heart. That is why we are so deeply moved by music, because in music we feel God’s heartbeat.

            We are the bearers of that rhythm. We are the bearers of God’s heartbeat. Our lives sing God’s song. Our words and our actions embody the lyrics. That is why I changed the title of my message. “Be the Song.” Be God’s song.

            Be the song that introduces people to God’s love and compassion.

            Be the song that comforts the grieving parent or child.

            Be the song that gives a child courage and strength.

            Be the song that welcomes the stranger, that includes the outcast and the discarded.

            Be the song that stands for justice and freedom.

            Be the song that inspires someone to serve their neighbor.

            In the living of our lives, there are many songs that we can choose to sing, there are many songs that we can embody. Let us choose to be God’s song.

            Let us choose the song of love.

[Sing, “I Choose Love.”]



Congregational Church