“Sometimes a light surprises the Christian as he sings…”
I cannot count the many times the Lord has used music to shine a light through the fog of life and speak to me with words of clarity, healing, and encouragement. And so the words of William Cowper’s (1731-1800) beloved hymn text speak a special truth to this musician. For often, it is in the simple act of singing that a melody rises above the daily din, bearing reminders of God’s unfailing love, His underserved mercies, and His ever-constant presence.
It might seem incongruous that in the immediate glow of Easter and the Resurrection, that a church musician might sing any song other than an “Alleluia!” But I suspect if we are completely honest, many in the ministry of music are exhausted right now. The privilege of providing music leadership for Easter is also an enormous pressure. There is virtually no break at all between the responsibilities of Christmas and Easter, and you, the worship leader, have likely been operating on “high alert” since last October.
What’s more, just because the two most important Holy Days of the church calendar occur nearly back-to-back, it doesn’t mean that our day-to-day lives stop and patiently wait for Christmas and Easter to pass. Along with the joys of the holidays, we still experience sickness, doubt, worry, and loss, but with little or no time to stop and reflect on these things. And so they pile up and wear us down. By the afternoon of Easter Sunday, it can all feel like too much.
So in this time just after Easter, if you need, take comfort and reassurance from Cowper’s hymn text.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
“Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.”
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice.
And while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice!
May we all remain open-hearted as we continue to sing, so that God’s surprising light, like the sun, may rise with “healing in His wings.”