Scripture Passage – Matthew 26:30
Description – Communion meditation for September 4, 2011
Audio link to this message 090411asermon
What one song do you want played at your funeral?
One song that I want played is by the gospel group Point of Grace entitled “Turn Up The Music.” It is a wonderful song about taking more time for the things that really count in life. Very inspirational.
Music is a powerful thing. It moves us. Just think about your favorite movie without the music score!
There are moments when we want to sing “I did it my way” because we are proud of our personal accomplishment.
There are situations at work that sometimes makes us want to sing, “Take this job and shove it!”
There are hours when we silently sing ‘Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,’ alongside ‘All the way my shepherd leads me…’
Our text for this morning, as we prepare to again seek God around the table is Matthew 26:30, “Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.”
I want us to think about the songs we are singing as Christians these days. What kinds of songs are we singing?
Are we singing songs of joy or frustration?
Are we singing songs of fear or hope?
Are we singing songs of anger or kindness?
We have reasons to sing the negative. Lack of jobs, frustration with policies that run contrary to what we believe and think is right, fear over another economic dip, lack of employment or very long hours of employment, all of these create the conditions that want us to sing songs of fear and insecurity.
The apostle Paul understood this very well he wrote “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” But he prefaced that statement with “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
this does not mean we throw in the towel and withdraw when times are difficult because, as we consider our main text, Jesus did not throw in the towel, He submitted to the Father’s will and as a result, we are redeemed and we are able to sing a song of joy.
The joy of the Lord is our strength.
This verse is found in Nehemiah 8:10
Nehemiah was an Old Testament person who wholeheartedly followed God during the time of ancient Israel’s exile after they were conquered by the ancient nation of Babylonia.
Nehemiah was heartbroken over what he had just heard and he went on to pray a prayer of repentance and confession for the sins of the ancient Hebrews that caused the conquering and exile of the final two tribes of Israel – Benjamin and Judah.
But he did not sit in his sorrow and grief. He resolved to do something about the situation. So very cautiously, as we continue to read, he asked the King of Babylon, to whom he was the cupbearer, when the King noticed Nehemiah’s sad demeanor, if he could return to Jerusalem and help rebuild it. He was granted his desire and for the rest of the book we read of his leadership and challenges to his leadership as he worked at rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem.
And a critical part of that process comes in chapter 8 when Ezra, the chief priest, reads the Mosaic law and the people are moved to weeping by what they have heard. And then comes the encouragement to rejoice and not mourn.
“This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
As so as we come to remember and give thanks with communion, let us do so with repentant hearts of joy and thanksgiving. Let us sing for and with joy, the joy of the Lord who is our good God who has forgiven us and given us new life now and a life beyond the grave!
Let us sing songs of joy and hope today, and tomorrow because of the hope we have within us.