Clarence’s Clarion Call – You will have a song
by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister
[Our guest columnist is Pastor David Stevens, Eden Mennonite Church. This is an adaptation of his sermon at Pastor Susan Jantzen’s ordination, First Mennonite Church-Hillsboro on February 23, 2014.]
You will have a song…and gladness of heart (Isaiah 30:29).
God’s song is not only music to the ears; it’s music to the heart. It’s a score that infuses deep joy; gladness at the core of our beings; a current that keeps flowing underneath the waves; joy that’s not situationally-determined but that determines situations. You will have a song…and gladness of heart.
Brothers and sisters, this heavenly canticle touches our hearts because it comes from God’s own heart. God is the composer. God has midwifed the music into life from God’s own core. God has burned the midnight oil, sawed the legs off the piano, felt the vibration on the floorboards and scratched each note on the staves. God has given to us the gift of God’s own song from God’s own heart. As we hear in Zephaniah, God will rejoice over you with gladness. God will renew you in his love. God will be exuberant over you with loud singing (3:17). God births into our souls the music that has gestated in God’s own.
God is the composer, and God is the conductor of this life-giving ballad. All God’s critters have a place in the band. And God invites a few of us as pastors to be associate conductors; to find our own voice and to welcome other voices; to tune our own heart and other hearts to sing God’s grace, because God’s song is a sing-along.
Together, the choir and its leaders sing God’s melody in a most-challenging venue. Our call is to do music therapy in a cacophonic world. God’s song must serenade the world in all its wonder and in all its brokenness. God’s song must soar to the music of the spheres and descend to the dirges of the dirt. And so God’s song is a symphony with many movements; with lament as well as praise. God’s strains draw out our tears so that hope can embrace us.
Brothers and sisters, today let me encourage you. God has given you the gift of a song, the song from God’s own heart; a song you know by heart. Your part is to trust in God’s love among you. Your part is to welcome everyone to use the voice God has given them and blend them together. Your part is to let God’s love radiate from you. And most of all, your part is to let God sing over you. God will be exuberant over you with loud singing. And all of us together will have a song…and gladness of heart.