New Songs for New Seasons

by | Jan 3, 2010

This Article first appeared last year on another website. I reproduce it here as it is a good reminder for the new year-Nigel.

Plato said “When the mode of Music changes the walls of the city shake”. He has never been more right. All around the world there is a terrific rumble as the walls of our society and our way of life shake, sway and fall. Our world is changing at an ever increasing rate; innovation and information have joined forces to accelerate us into an era where events that were once localized have become global phenomena. The harbinger of these changes was perhaps the cataclysmic events of 9/11. As the world watched in real time the towers of our security, innocence and isolation fell and the “Global War on Terror” was born. So now we fight fear and in every nation and people group, terror has stretched out a clammy hand and squeezed first our security, then our values and now our economies as the global war on terror has grown into the pimpled adolescent “Global economic down turn”. And, if we allow it to do so, it may well mature into the truly terrifying jack-booted adult “Global Loss of Personal Freedoms.” In our flight from fear we continue to hand more and more of the responsibility for our future and that of our children over to ever more powerful governments which promise us the elusive security which we yearn for whilst claiming authority over more and more of our lives – even to the point of presuming to police the very thoughts in our heads. The engine of this growing momentum is undoubtedly modern media feeding us a steady diet of disasters, destruction and death reaped from the four corners of the earth to stoke our fears and ensuring that an earthquake in Pakistan rattles the windows in Perth; or that when a black man is elected to the White House street parties are thrown in Nairobi. Seen through the lens of modern media the world is indeed dark. However there is another perspective, a truer, clearer eternal perspective and that is what I want to examine here. In the 60th chapter of the book of Isaiah we read a prophetic picture of the church in today’s world. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” The church is God’s answer to the problems of the world. His intention is to cover the whole earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord and he intends to do this through the church. By the church I do not mean the institution of the church nor any particular denomination, but rather the global family of believers through whom God intends to display his glory to the world. The “Global War on Terror” can only be won by a “Global Outpouring of Love”; for as John told us “perfect love drives out all fear” (1 John 4:18). As the world retreats from faith and love it necessarily embraces fear – but God is releasing revelation to the church so that as we view the earth from the throne room of heaven we carry the glory and sing the songs of the age which is being born. In this time of transition, as we step from one age into another and as the church we have known shakes off the chrysalis of powerless religious performance to take flight as the bride of Christ, radiant with his glory, full of his power and love, we are being given new songs to sing, songs which release his justice and righteousness into the nations of the earth. In Isaiah 42 we read; “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. Let the desert and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops.Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands. The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.” We are currently in that small space between the “former things” and the “new things” which God has declared. We are in a season of transition into what some are calling the new apostolic age. New seasons require new songs. New songs cause the walls of the city to shake because new songs speak of new ways of thinking, new realities being born. Once these new ways of thinking have been sung into the hearts of a generation, that generation will ultimately shape their society to reflect the new way of seeing the world. Andrew Fletcher wrote in 1704: “If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws.” In a very real way then our music builds our tomorrow. This is why when we are in a season of transition between the “former things” and the “new things” God tells us to sing new songs. Sadly much of the music that the church is singing and listening to is more a reflection and an echo of the society in which we live rather than being the fresh breath of heaven it is called to be. Partly this reveals the fact that often our perspectives on the world are not that different from those who do not know God and thus instead of releasing new songs into the prevailing darkness we end up merely harmonizing with religious sounding melodies to the world’s dirge of doom and gloom. However, what would it sound like if we could hear and sing the songs heaven sings as we viewed the earth from the vantage point of the throne of God as we sit with him in heavenly places (Eph 2:6)? Isaiah 42 gives us some clues to the new songs. They are songs of rejoicing, praise and glory – but they are also personal, culturally authentic songs! All the different localities, peoples, cities, islands and regions are to sing a new song. They are commanded to raise up their voice; their own voice and not the echo of another people. Every person, culture and nation has a unique new song waiting to be sung. The weapons which will pull down the stronghold of globalised fear (which even now is herding us towards a world where personal liberty has been surrendered for the illusion of security provided by all powerful governments) are the songs of faith, praise and love for a loving, all wise God sung by people who view all of life through heaven’s eyes and revel in their uniqueness, their creativity, their cultures and their freedoms. Heaven and earth are waiting for that music to begin. Could it be that the reason the lights appear to be dimming around us is because the concert of all eternity is about to begin?

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