The melody is the method
Tune into God—the Lord has a song for every situation.
By Justin Docherty, Captain –
God moves us with his music.
His rules are rhythms. More melodic than mechanical, they are not merely stated, but sung. His silences are the spaces between the stanzas. His statements comprise the score that acts as the soundtrack to our lives.
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Is. 55:12 RSV).
When God moves he does so with poise and precision, and when he evokes movement he does not primarily do so with shouts of command but with songs that compel.
And creation is captive to his chorus.
The sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy (Ps. 19:5). Scripture declares, Praise the Lord!…Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord! (Ps. 148:1, 3–5).
Let all who have ears, hear the tune that triumphs, the music that moves the molecules and the moons, that turns the tides.
In Scripture, God sings both to stir and to still us. “The Lord your God is with you…He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).
God has a song for every situation. It’s not an on-demand streaming service, but a divinely discovered sound, composed to connect us to his compassion and to our calling.
It’s imperative then that that we do not believe that God is a one-hit wonder. What he sang at the start of our spiritual serenade is not what he sings now.
And what he sang at the origin of The Salvation Army is certainly not what he is singing now.
Indeed, there are times when what he sings is a marching song, designed to evoke fast feet that strike the street like divine drumsticks. If this is what he composes for his church, we will find supernatural strength in the song. But do not think for a moment that the soundtrack of The Salvation Army is one long march to glory. There are tunes for the trenches—ballads like bullets that speed us for service—but then there are lullabies of love, songs that still us to silence (Eccl. 3:1).
I believe too much damage has been done by leaders being out of step with the Spirit’s songs. We need to know now what tune God is tapping, and what cymbals he is striking. Truth never changes, but God’s tone and tempo do.
I’m not going to announce what I believe God is broadcasting over the divine airways right now. But one thing I do know: in history, what God has been singing into society is often very different from society’s noisy notes. His songs have always been inherently more poetical than political, more conscientious than catchy, more causal than casual, with basses that reach our baseness and trebles that touch our tenderness.
There is freedom in finding this as true, and in visualizing truth as a tune. It removes the responsibility to initiate the mandate, and the burden to release our own records. We simply seek the songs of our Savior, and release ourselves to his rhythms.
We were made to move, and we move to the music of the Master, the Composer of Creation, for his melody is the method (Rom. 8:14).