Since the Church retreat a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about the “Hymn-Off” we did that Sunday morning. I had a song in mind to win, and it did not win. My Life Flows On came in a close second to Wade in the Water.
I’ve been trying to figure out why. My LIfe Flows On has been the anthem for this church for many years. When I think about being voted out of Franconia Conference (20 years ago this month), I think about singing and weeping together–”No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging. Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?” I also think about singing this song to my children in their cribs, weeping over what storms they may one day face.
It’s the song of my heart. And it’s the heart song of many others here. But, that hymn off demonstrated a new song brewing in people’s hearts.
Last week, I met with the folks that are working on a new Mennonite Hymnal. One of the songs that’s coming out of this hymnal process is called, “Sing a New World into Being.” As we met together, we pondered what world the current hymnal is singing into being, and we wondered what world the new hymnal would sing into being.
And I thought about this weekend at retreat, where the young folks sang Wade in the Water with gusto, while the out of tune piano grooved along. I thought about the enthusiasm of our kid’s singing, and how heartfelt it was.
Wade in the Water may have been a fluke in the Hymn-off. It may not be our heart song, but it did point to a new direction. We may be moving from the image of clinging to God our rock in hard times, to counting on God to stir things up. It’s holding on for dear life vs. confidence that God’s going to stir things up.
I still sing My Life Flows On, but maybe I need to recognize that this is a song from a certain time in my life. Maybe there’s a new song stirring–one of confidence in God among us, stirring up the water in our troubled world.
–Pastor Amy Yoder McGloughlin