Just this morning I stopped by my local convenience store for a gas. I love convenience stores because their small and I feel like I there I encounter regular people who are living regular lives.
There was a pretty young guy sitting in his very nice pickup that he had just filled with gas and was getting himself ready to hit the road. I was just standing at the pump and couldn’t help but observe his rituals: Big Gulp mounted in cupholder… Check. Sunglasses on… Check. Seatbelt… Check. Leans over to start his music… WHAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM.
His truck started vibrating and everything within 200 feet was suddenly engulfed within a wall of deep bass.
The bass gave over to some other roaring tones that was obviously supposed to be the melody. Then the vocals kicked in suddenly. The lyrics were indecipherable but the emotions the music intended to express was clear… Outrage. Anger. Rejection. Non-comformity.
I’m not judging this kind of music at all. I can go “back-in-the-day” when I was y0ung and single, listening to hard-edge music as loud as I could.
The observation I made is that the expression of this music at such high volumes, coupled with the young man’s de”mean”or. He glared towards me as lit his cigarette (I thought young people only smoked e-cigs these days?) and even though he pulled away quickly, he left that sound for several hundred feet behind him. His intention was to leave an impression.
That screamo music is clearly the soundtrack of his life.
I’ve mentioned before that I used to work in production; video and audio. We’d often refer to the soundtrack—the musical score—as one of the lead actors. The music bed sets the tone for the whole production. The emotions conveyed in the dialogue and expressed by the actors was only part of the story. The soundtrack amplifies the feelings and really sets the tone of the story.
As I watched and listened to the young man drive away into the story of his day, it was clear to me he had set the soundtrack of his life and the emotions they communicate will shape and drive his every interaction.
Our summer series Psalms of the 90s has been a lot of fun. We’ve been digging through what is known as the 4th book of the Psalms which contain some very rich material that portray God in clear terms as the The Most High God, the Creator and Lord of all creation. What I love about these Psalms is how they go towards rescuing our hearts and minds from the temptation to make God smaller. To worship a part-time God who doesn’t care or doesn’t see. Instead, in the Psalms of the 90s, we see God for who He is: Creator, Sustainer, Protector and righteous Judge.
Psalm 96 calls on God’s people to:
Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. (Psalms 96:1–4 ESV)
Listening to the command to sing a “new song” implies that we could and often do sing an “old song.” The “new song” that we are to sing is about our freedom (salvation) that is given to us be Him. This new song is to be sung together among God’s covenant people (the nations) and declared out among the world (all the peoples).
In essence, this new song of God’s salvation is to the soundtrack of our lives. That tune that underscores our everyday. It’s presence, like that man’s deep aching bass, ought to leave an impression with virtually everyone we encounter.
I can tell when I am singing this new song and when I’m not. When I’m operating out of a filling of God’s presence; having spent time listening to His Word (which vacate all the lies that I hear normally in the course of day in mind), having soaked in fellowship with Him through prayer, I can tell the difference that makes when I’m out. People look at me differently. There’s purpose to our interactions—even if they are sort of meaningless transactions at convenience stores.
People will notice when we are out there singing this new song among all the earth because they are starved for genuine love and sensitive to the presence of God’s love through you.
So, what song are you singing today?
What is the soundtrack of your life?
What impression are you leaving with the people you will see today?