“O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice!”
Psalm 96: 1, 11-12
I saw my first musical when I was 9 years old. It was Les Miserables and my parents took me to the Fisher Theater in downtown Detroit. I had been listening to the music because they had played it. These were the days of tapes and I remember having to rewind certain songs to get to the ones I wanted to hear. I have been hooked to musicals ever since. When the curtain opens and the orchestra hums those first few notes you are transported to a different time and reality. A new song is a new story, a new construct. It’s more than a distraction, it’s an escape. An escape can help you heal. (These words stolen from a track in the musical Prom). In this escape, in the midst of this experience I can echo the words of this psalmist. Everything is full; whether it is a roar of a sad emotion or so joyful it seems like the theater chair I sit in rejoices.
Sing to the Lord a new song. Like so many of us I have longed for a new song these 76 days of quarantine. A song that offered a better “best case scenario” for our reopening. A song that made me laugh. A song that transported me from the current reality to a completely different landscape.
Our faith ancestors had this experience with God. In God’s promise they were transported just as I am when the curtain opens. Theirs too was an escape; an escape from bondage, from despair, from death.
While it’s sometimes easier for me to access Dear, Evan Hansen or Wicked, with each transportation to this other reality I am reminded of the ever present new song that God invites us to sing. May we join in the chorus of God’s story of love that is so profound the trees of the woods rejoice.
Prayer: God thank you for the creativity and talent of theater artists who share their stories and the grit of their characters to offer us an escape. Remind us that in your promises, a new song is sung. A song that is history-making, a song where even the trees of the field stand up and applause. Help us to hear that song, for we need a new song to sing.