“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Friday, February 26, 2021.
“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mark 14:26).
What hymn do you think Jesus and the disciples sang on their way out of the city? Amazing Grace? Beautiful Savior? Just As I Am? Of course not. Those hymns wouldn’t be written for another few millenia.
It would have been a psalm. Maybe it was one of the Hallel psalms (Psalms 111-118), praising the Lord for his mighty works, his many blessings, and his steadfast love that endures forever. Remember, it’s the Passover, a festive time for remembering God’s powerful deliverance. The songs they sang that night they might have sung many times with their families growing up. They all knew them and loved to sing them.
Music and singing have always been an important part of my worship life. I’ve got my favorite hymns and songs. Some of them are newer praise songs. I’ve known others as long as I can remember. But you know what? I’ve never really thought about Jesus singing. He sang a hymn with his disciples that night!
So what do you think his favorite psalm is? In your mind do you hear Jesus with a deep, resonant bass voice? Or does he soar up in the tenor range? Would he sing melody, or do you think he likes to harmonize?
I think there’s only one other verse in the bible that mentions God singing.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Jesus had a lot on his mind as they headed up to the Mount of Olives. He’s already mentioned betrayal. He’s about to mention desertion and denial. In a few moments his soul will be weighed down with sorrow, dragging him to the ground in prayer. Yet in this moment, it’s time to sing.
Do you ever catch yourself singing? Maybe you’ve sung along to music in the car, or hummed a tune while doing some chores, or softly sung while rocking a restless baby on your shoulder. In the final days of my dad’s life, my brother and sister and I sang quite a few hymns. Though he didn’t sing along or even open his eyes, I have no doubt that the tunes and lyrics comforted and brought him joy in those moments before his last breath. He and my mom had taught us to sing, to harmonize and paid for a lot of music lessons, too. We sure enjoyed giving back some of that gift of music as he prepared to join the worshiping multitudes in heaven.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of music. And thanks for singing along with us, too! Amen.