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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, May 9, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Zephaniah 3:14–20

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
   shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
   O daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you,
   he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
   you shall fear disaster no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
   do not let your hands grow weak.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
   a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
   he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
   as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
   so that you will not bear reproach for it.
I will deal with all your oppressors
   at that time.
And I will save the lame
   and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
   and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you home,
   at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
   among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
   before your eyes, says the Lord. (NRSV)

Reflection
Reading Zephaniah 3:14 I could immediately hear a soprano singing these words in the jubilant aria from Handel’s Messiah—“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem.” That exuberant melody fills my soul with joy, and yet as I read through this passage something even more astounding grabbed my attention in verse 17:

“The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.”

Can you imagine having God singing over you, singing to you? I can hear Handel, but what would it sound like if God were singing? How incredibly wonderful that would be.

Can you imagine the first time anyone heard your very favorite piece of music?

Can you imagine the sound of molecules as they vibrate next to each other?

Can you imagine the sound of the planets as they rotate through space?

Can you imagine the sound of your grandmother or mother saying “I love you”?

I cannot imagine what it will be like to have God singing over me, but I know it will be more wonderful than anything else I can possibly imagine hearing. I know that in the eternal sound of heaven we will all truly know God’s love and that we will be one with God in that love. But for now I can only imagine.

Prayer
Singing God, help me listen for whispers of your voice even now, even here today. Singing God, help me listen for your voice in all those I meet; those in need, those in sorrow. Singing God, draw me to your voice as a loving parent calls to a child, until I am lost in the sound of your voice; lost in your embrace; lost in wonder, love, and praise. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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