Today’s Old Testament lesson (Exodus 15:1-21) brings back a good memory. When I was part of the Baptist Student Union at the College of William & Mary, we had a weekly gathering in which we’d sit on the grass in front of our student center and worship with skits, testimonies, speakers, and lots of the latest praise choruses. And since this was the early to mid 1980’s (gee, has it really been that long ago?) one of the songs on our “worship chorus hit parade” was I Will Sing unto the Lord, which was inspired by today’s text:
I will sing unto the LORD,
for He has triumphed gloriously,
the horse and rider thrown into the sea. (Repeat)
The LORD, my God, my strength and song,
has now become my victory. (Repeat)
The LORD is God, and I will praise Him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. (Repeat)
Now, the way that I remember it, we normally did this song as a round. And for fun, we would often increase the speed each time through, until — by the end — it was a blur of laughter and barely discernible lyrics. But there was real joy in the singing — partly because of the deep and meaningful bond that we shared with one another —and partly because of subject we were singing about: “The LORD is God…and I will exalt Him.” And that, of course, is the reason that Moses and Miriam and the Israelites sang in the “original setting” of this tune: they had experience the Lord’s deliverance, and what else could they do but lift their voices in joyful praise?
We, too, are recipients of God’s deliverance. Of course, our experience of that deliverance on this particular day might not be as dramatic as watching God part the waters before us and drown our enemies behind us. But we are still the witnesses of a salvation that is no less stunning. We are participants in God’s New Exodus; and we stand on the far side of the waters of baptism knowing that death has been defeated, that the way to the Promised Land has been set before us, and that we are being guided by the faithful presence of the One who loves us and gave Himself for us. Surely there’s reason to rejoice in that — even if we have to face some challenges and wandering along the way.
So, here’s my prayer for us today. May we be reminded that the LORD has triumphed gloriously. May we feel in our hearts the joy of knowing that “the LORD, our God, our strength, our song, has now become our victory!” And yes, may we not forget to sing.