Psalm 98 (NRSV)
Verse 1O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
Verse 2The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
Verse 3He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
Verse 4Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Verse 5Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.
Verse 6With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
Verse 7Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.
Verse 8Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy
Verse 9at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
During this pandemic one of the things most missed has been opportunities for singing together. Congregational singing is potentially a super-spreader event. Recently I presided at the funeral of a well-loved member of our community. Washington State’s rules governing such gatherings had recently changed, and over one hundred mourners—all masked, practicing social distancing, and following the rules—gathered outdoors in the cemetery. As the worship concluded, for the first time in over a year, following new state guidelines, we all sang together the hymn “Now Thank We All Our God,” our mouths and noses still shielded behind our masks. That hymn is almost four hundred years old, but in that moment it was a new song. The hills rang out with joy as God’s people raised their voices in praise and thanksgiving, celebrating God’s steadfast love, and, joined to Christ’s death and resurrection, trusting the promises given us in baptism.
O God, open our lips to sing the new song of your steadfast love and faithfulness. Fashion our lives to trust in the promises given us in baptism through Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Amen.