Song of Deliverance

Saturday was another day that included involvements of ministry and life that came from very different emotional centers.  After hearing of the passing of Carolyn Doss, we rerouted and retimed a planned journey to a former church field in St. Louis, Missouri where we were to join a celebration with a close friend who had been part of our early days of ministry with whom we have kept contact.  Fist, though, we wanted to at least get by First Baptist Martin to speak with longtime Tennessee Music Minister Elwood Doss to share our sympathies and assure Elwood and his three grown children of our continued prayer support.  We were on a tight schedule and stopped by the church.  Son, Chuck was at the church, but Elwood and other family members had not yet arrived.  I was disappointed, but felt the pressure to get on the road.  I left with a sense of need to contact Elwood later to follow up in those days of mourning that often follow such events after the family has returned to their daily lives.  Such days can be full of the ache of loss that continues to linger.

Leaving Martin in a bit of a hurry Ebbie and I made our way to St. Louis knowing we were running behind schedule and following the sometimes confusing instructions being dictated from the GPS.  I had glanced at a computer map to get a general perspective of the journey, but the travel became more and more an adventure as we crossed a bridge that narrowed to one lane due to construction, saw a sign that indicated a roadway was closed, and at one point nearly ran out of gas due to someone’s, “got to press on” attitude (that would be me).  Eventually we saw road signs that made a bit more sense to my perspective, and we were able to drive at speeds to which I am a bit more accustomed as we returned to Interstate travel.  As it turned out we arrived in St. Louis in adequate time and joined the festivities.  Even though we were a bit frazzled and still prayerful about the happenings of the day back in Martin, we found joy in the celebration with our friends of many years.

The celebration of which I speak was a unique party to commemorate a fortieth anniversary of Charlie’s coming to accept the Lord and give up his former destructive lifestyle.  Forty years of “saved and sober” as we heard repeated several times through the testimonies of the day.  After a song sung by one of his grandchildren, other family members shared their recollection of God’s work in and through Charlie’s life.  His older children told of the gift of a brand new father as they recalled nights before Charlie’s salvation that were characterized as a drunken stuper.  Those were contrasted with depictions of a loving dad who would give them anything including the best gifts of all, love and blessing.  Even the stories shared by those who had only known Charlie after his salvation  contained elements of new creation. 

I remember Charlie as a non-music reading choir member who loved to sing.  I thought I was “taking a chance” when I asked if he would sing a solo in a musical.  The solo would follow his sharing of some of his testimony.  I thought I could work with him sufficiently to take the edge off the country twang.  He worked hard to prepare and got a little better each rehearsal.  I was hardly prepared, though, for the impact of his testimony followed by his rendition of The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference.  Even as a very young man I begged God to let me be a loving and caring dad.  The singing still had a certain twang to it, but I can testify I have never heard “better music.”  There was a power in this sweet, sweet song of salvation that came from the heart of one changed by the very grace of God. 

As varied as the emotions of last Saturday were, still there was a theme that speaks to me and reminds me of a larger truth that I want to share with all those with whom I have audience.  The songs of life for those of us who name the Name of Christ all have a recurring truth.  Our life song is a Song of Deliverance.  From the dawn of time through all of history and into the light of eternity there continues a song of deliverance.  We hear the song sung by God’s chosen people when they are delivered from Pharoah’s army and threatening waters in Exodus 15 as we recognize the song of Moses and Miriam.  The hope that is central through the book of songs in Psalms is the projection of deliverance by the Lord God Almighty.  The song of deliverance graces the lips of our Savior as He prepares to suffer on our behalf as he joins his disciples in the last moments with all of them together in Matt 26:30.  The familiar refrain of the song of deliverance can be heard from the woman at the well, the healed blind man and beggar, and among the gathered believers whether in the upper room, the Roman prison, or the mission-birthed churches of Asian minor.  Lest we think the song is over we see glimpse into eternity in the book of Revelation and find the singing continues in Rev 5 and Rev 15 only to discover that it is the very same theme, the “Song of Moses” and “the Lamb” (Rev 15:3).

Saturday, though I did not get to stay for Carolyn’s memorial service, I saw the worship order.  The songlist included Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine,son Daniel Doss’s Dancing with Jesus, and the great reformation hymn rooted in Ps 46, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.  In the face of life’s end we sing the song of deliverance.  The celebration of new life we shared in St. Louis was accented with reminders of the song of the deliverance and more importantly the source of the deliverance to which our song refers.  We heard a bit about Victory in Jesus and A Hill Called Mt Calvary and other references to songs that let us basque in God’s grace and mercy.  Even when Ebbie and I were unsure of our turns on unfamiliar highways there was faith in the One who had never left us to simply fend for ourselves.  A song in my mind Saturday was friend, Eric Wyse’s Wonderful, Merciful Savior.  Another song of deliverance.

Worship Pastors/Leaders, call your congregations to step into the stream of singing worship and praise of our Living God!  The song is older than time itself, it has been sung by God’s chosen people through history, we inherit it from those who have shared the Gospel message with us, and we sing it right along with all who have sung before and those who are yet to be born who will raise up to praise the Lord!  Sing with all your heart, for your redemption draweth nigh.”

Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song,

Paul

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Church Music, Leading Worship, Private Worship, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts, Youth Worship

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