Ancient Words

Words matter, and music helps to implant them in the hearts of our hearers.

I’ve been thinking about religious tradition and the church. Being raised in a nonliturgical church, I was not raised to reverence what most people recognize as religious traditions. After all, it is not the outward trappings of religion that define my relationship with my Maker, but the state of my heart. I still believe that.

But throwing away all religious tradition is tragic.

I am a firm believer in the power of words to change people and situations. The words we choose and how we use them either build or destroy, strengthen or undermine. I’ve been thinking about this more for some reason lately in relation to religious history and tradition.

Lynn DeShazo wrote a beautiful hymn several years ago called “Ancient Words” and I guess it’s been driving this meditation. It’s about the power of faith expressed in words and the words we use to pass faith down.

I began thinking about the Ancient Words of our faith through the ages that express my faith. Some of them are directly biblical, some are extrabiblical, but still important to my faith.

Words like:

– In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

– I AM that I AM

– The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall want for nothing.

– You shall have no other gods before Me.

– As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

– Shema Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Echad. (Hear O Israel, The Lord is God, the Lord is One)

– Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord

– We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things seen and unseen…

– Almighty God, to you all hearts are open and all desires are known, and from you no secrets are hid

– I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go, I will return and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also.

– Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.

– And I bring you good tidings of great joy.

– Our Father who art in heaven.

– Miserere Nobis. We are wretched

-Kyrie Eleison.  Lord, have mercy

– He is not here. He is risen.

– It is right to give Him thanks and praise.

– Alleluia! Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

There are many others.

But how much more important is it that we not only treasure them for ourselves, but that we share the Ancient Words with others. It is not enough that we know them, but that we teach them and share their power.

Peace, Love, and Joyful Noise,

Deborah Warden

 

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