Psalm are ancient songs to God. I love how Psalm 81 begins with just that: a song of joy. It reminds me of concerts and performances and public gatherings I so long for as we await a way through the coronavirus pandemic. Our need for music is innate. In her reflection on Psalm 81, Mac Fowler says, “people are going through hard times and don’t know who to turn to… for me, I’m turning to God and music for hope.”
Psalm 81 begins with music, joyful music, but still cries out for burdens to be lifted, for distress calls to be heard, for God to make a way. Music, especially joyful music does not have to drown out the distress call, but it can be a balm, a healing ointment, a physical way for renewal in the midst of the challenges of daily life.
May this prayer I adapted from Psalm 81 be a prayer of praise, a prayer of comfort, a prayer of hope for you this morning.
Let us pray:
Hear our song of joy, O God.
Let the music begin.
Let every instrument resound with melody.
Remove the burdens from our shoulders, O Voice in Our Midst.
Hear our distress.
Answer to us out of the thunder cloud.
Do not let us be stubborn and only follow our own path.
Give us your path: a way through the desert.
Be our God, our Lord, let us listen to you.
—Psalm 81, adapted by Katie Snipes Lancaster from the NRSV