Saturday, August 21, 2010

This Is How We Do It

Every night before my daughter and son go to bed, they each ask me to sing. It's something we started a long time ago, besides praying together before bedtime, I always sing them a song. I do not have a good singing voice but they don't seem to care. Elvis is easy - he always asks for the same lineup of songs, but Lydia has gotten into the habit of asking, "Mom, sing me a different song." As much as I'd like to say I can "sing a new song unto the Lord" every single night, I'm just not that good at impromptu. I am amazed, however, at the number of song lyrics stored away in my brain. This was tested several weeks ago when some friends of mine in the MFA program asked me to sing "This Is How We Do It" with them at karaoke, and my recall of most of the lyrics surprised me and probably all of the people in the program.

Now, I'm not going to sing Montel Jordan to Lydia right before bed (I'm kinda buzzed and it's all because this is how we do it might not be the most appropriate lyric to sing to a four year old), so I have to dig into the more lullabaic songs. Lydia remembers when I've sung her something before, so this is becoming a very challenging evening affair. How did all of these songs get embedded into my head?

Reading The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers has me thinking about the possibility of the Word of God being written on our hearts. In first century Christianity, Christians gathered together to worship and hear the word of the Lord read aloud. Because the letters of Paul and other early Christian texts weren't readily available to any person on the street - not just anyone could walk into a Borders and purchase their favorite translation of the Bible - these early believers memorized portions of the text so that it was truly "written on their hearts". They carried the words of Christ and of his apostles everywhere.

How many truths of God are written on your heart? For how readily available the Scriptures are today in print, I cannot say that they are readily available on my tongue, in answer to others struggles, concerns, or worries. As I go about my daily tasks at work and at home, there are countless times when I wish I could pull up that one thing that I remember reading once or twice about this particular issue, and oh, how it would be encouraging or helpful! Montel Jordan just can't help me out here.

Deuteronomy instructs us to "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children will be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth" (11:18-21).

When I was in high school, I was in the drill team and marching band. On the bus to an away football game, I remember some girls recording "Miami" by Will Smith. They would play and rewind the tape over and over again until they committed the words of the song to heart. The few verses from Scripture that I have committed to memory spring up like a water fountain when I'm thirsty and encourage me when I'm at my weakest.

The words in Deuteronomy encourage us to surround ourselves with the word of the Lord so that we might live and live abundantly. I don't mean digging into the Bible for obscure verses about begetting and whatnot. Where are the gems that have guided you and encouraged you in your times of need? Why not play them over and over in your head, like a song you really like, and commit them to memory. Not just for your sake but for your co-workers, your family, your children, and your friends, when they go through the similar trials and trying circumstances in life that you've already been carried through. Lay a foundation for your family, while you are at it, built on the promises of God.

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