Posted by: Mad Lamb | 25/03/2015

Singing a new song

Last week I was waiting for my husband to return from a long day trip by train. I was waiting to hear when he was at Birmingham New Street station, so I could track the last part of his journey and know when I should leave home to pick him up. His journey was delayed, so I ended up just watching the live arrival information on my phone and waiting for my moment. It was then I realised how easily I get bored of waiting.

Train Timetable

We knew this year would involve a lot of waiting. By now, I’m used to waiting for my husband to ask if I could proofread a new chapter of his thesis before sending it to his supervisor. This year it peaks into waiting to see if three years of study will result in a successful award of a research degree. Not only that, as his study is coming to an end, his name is being circulated among Baptist churches. Therefore we’re also waiting to see if a church will be interested enough to call him to be their minister. The result of that will determine when and where I need to apply for a job and if we need to sell our house to buy one nearer to the church.

It was while waiting for my husband’s train, I realised I was also bored with waiting for Easter. I started Lent with enthusiasm and a keenness to use it to build in more times of reflection in a day. I found the Northumbria Community online daily office was a useful tool to bring my focus back when I started to flag on my own attempts. Prior to Lent I was aware of a reoccurring message emerging to be more deliberate in my actions and not just wait for life to shape my activities, so I set a focus for each month. In February it was about jobs around the house and March is a focus for creativity. I had anticipated March being a time where I finally mastered my saxophone enough to play at church or venture back into stand-up comedy, however as Lent was warming up, I became aware of a Lent poetry project on Facebook, called ‘Poetic Countdowns: the sacred and the profane’.

I’ve enjoyed dusting off the poetry part of my brain from the creative shelf. I’ve never known a time when I’ve not written poetry, whether for silly ditties for birthday and valentine cards or attempts at writing lyrics for songs. My father wrote his speech for my wedding in the form of verse, so I think it’s in my genes. When I had an opportunity to explore being a freelance writer, I perceived that poetry would be my ‘major’ but soon found that poetry doesn’t pay very well and writing poetry without a specific focus is hard work, so I gave into writing articles for the local paper and compiling crosswords.

The Lent poetry project gave me the focus I needed and I’ve been thrilled with producing two pieces and several interesting drafts to work on, so how come I’m bored with Lent? I’m not bored with the poetry nor am I bored with spending time reflecting on God nor itching to avoid these new disciplines. I am bored with waiting for this not to be something I’m trying to squeeze into a few minutes here and there but to be a permanent part of my life. When I boil it down, I guess I’m bored with waiting for me to change more permanently.

There, I’ve said it! I’m bored with yet another attempt for me to become a ‘better person’. Better at expressing my creativity, better at opting to pray first and act later, better at spending my time more productively. Bored of waiting for Lent to end so I won’t feel guilty when all my best intentions fall flat after Easter when I return to being non-reflective, non-deliberate and non-creative.

I wonder if God is also bored of waiting for me to change? We hear Jesus’ frequent remarks of ‘o ye of little faith’, when exasperated with the disciples. Or the time he asked them to watch over him as he prayed in Gethsemane when they fell asleep and he stated: ‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ (Matt 26:40) We don’t often sing songs about how intolerable we are but surely the loving God doesn’t get bored of waiting.

This week, I found myself reading Isaiah 42 and saw the words ‘Sing to the Lord a new song’, in verse 10. Suddenly I read them anew as ‘Change the record! Forget your songs of lament, sing me song of praise’. I checked for other uses of that phrase and found Psalm 96, 33, 98 and 149. As two thirds of the verses in Psalms are laments, where often praise comes after a long tale of woe, the ‘Sing a new song’ psalms stand out, calling us to praise God without moaning first, for a change.

sing-a-new-song-bible

In Psalm 144, the writer states their intention to sing new songs unto the Lord. So perhaps, rather than simply waiting for Lent to end and moan about being bored, I should change the record, look for opportunities to be deliberate beyond Easter, make conscious, deliberate decisions more often and not allow life to squeeze out times of reflections and creativity. Who knows, I may even find I am able to write a few new songs to sing while I’m waiting to change. What new song do you think God is asking from you?

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Responses

  1. new heavens on a new earth is my new song!


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