Joy in Challenging Times: How Can I Keep from Singing
Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.
(Psalm 47:1; read entire Psalm 47)
You don’t need to feel guilty about joy in times of trouble. You can shout for joy, clap your hands and give thanks in difficult times. We need to honor all our feelings. Often the ability to feel joy is related to our ability to lament and protest. We can mourn and celebrate, and we need to do both as is appropriate.
One of my favorite hymn is “My Life Goes on in Endless Song,” also known as “How Can I Keep From Singing.” Listen to the words meditatively, recognizing their holistic spirituality:
My life goes on in endless song
above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it’s music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness ’round me close,
songs in the night it giveth.
There is trouble all around, notes the lyricist. Tempest, darkness, tumult, strive, lament, and yet there is an echo of new creation. The moral and spiritual arcs of history are present in challenging times. The perfect storm of pandemic, racism and structural violence, and ecological destruction are real. But they are not the whole story. God has the final word. God’s hymn of grace persists and calls us forward to a new heaven and a new earth.
Rejoice, clap your hands, praise God. How can we keep from singing, grateful, loving, and strong, even in time of pandemic?
Listen to this pandemic inspired version of How Can I Keep From Singing? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLPP3XmYxXg
How can we keep from singing when we see the beauty of the earth! How can we keep from clapping our hands when friends sacrifice for the greater good! Let us stand with God’s moral arc and join the hymn of new creation.