Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. (Psalm 98:4-5)
A melody is a linear succession of musical tones that the listener perceives as a single entity. In its most literal sense, a melody is a combination of pitch and rhythm. It may be considered the foreground to the background accompaniment. Melodies often consist of one or more musical phrases and are usually repeated throughout a composition in various forms. (Thank you Wikipedia)
Recent music trends remind me how deeply I value melody. When I walk into the gym I am assaulted by rhythm, not greeted by melody. I ask the proprietor if we can please find an alternative Pandora station. He complies but the next station reminds me rhythm is hot, melody is not. When music is dominated by rhythm, something in me shuts down. Melody, for me, is the sound of music – the hallowed foreground. Percussion serves best as a background. When my ear is deprived of that linear succession of tones I feel ripped off. I agree with Wikipedia…
The true goal of music—its proper enterprise—is melody. All the parts of harmony have as their ultimate purpose only beautiful melody.
This week’s Blue Book theme, “The Song”, is not only about the melodies which are embedded in the mountains, the rivers and the trees. It is also about authentic human worshippers. These souls understand the perpetual nature of worship. They also know worship is not just singing a succession of compatible tones, but thinking a succession of right thoughts, deliberately keeping them in the foreground of their consciousness, effecting the composition of everything they say and do.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him. The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. (Psalm 98:1-3)
When these beautiful words were penned all was not well with the world’s soul. Evil, just as it is today, was stalking the earth. Death was staking his claims. Disease, pestilence, poverty and other plagues, as usual, were having their say. In the presence of evil, the psalmist is demonstrating the worshipper’s capacity and discipline of keeping those themes in the backdrop. In righteous opposition to the rhythms of this world worshippers militantly displace the pervasive drumbeats of darkness with a melody consisting of one true thought of God after another. Again, listen for the psalmist’s melody….
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the Lord. Let the sea roar and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:4-9)
Father, help us see where we are majoring on minor themes, where background rhythms are drowning melody. Instead, may we burst forth with the melodies You have planted in us and in all creation. Draw Your melody out from within us. Teach us to sing them with all boldness and joy, all for the glory of your precious name. Amen.