Focal verse

“O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth” (Psalm 96:1).

Reflection

Last year, like many children across the country, my daughter finished preschool virtually. Every day at 10 a.m., we’d gather in front of my computer for story and song time with her teacher. I witnessed the songs and books that were shared with her class. I saw my daughter answer questions and learned how she was learning. I sang and clapped along. I learned new songs, too.

The songs from my daughter’s class became the soundtrack for our days. We’d get outside and shout, “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty!” Or we’d walk around the neighborhood singing, “The Lord is my shepherd; he walks with me always.”

Isn’t this the gift of our faith—that it comes with us wherever we go? Singing together also gives our families words to talk about God, faith, joy and sadness, and then the words become part of our lives. They move with us. They inspire us. Hymn texts provide go-to phrases when we don’t know what else to say or how to approach a certain theological topic.

“Jesus Loves Me” reminds us of Jesus’ unconditional love. Hymns and worship songs from church connect us to all the other people who sing those same songs. When we sing “This Little Light of Mine,” we lift our fingers to remind us that we have light to offer to others.

Some days, I’ll hear my children singing to themselves as they play. Other times I’ll sing to them before bed. When I sing to my children, I don’t explain what the words mean; rather, I let the words embrace them. I hope the Spirit will work in them so that one day, when they’re in need, my children might turn to those songs for hope and comfort.

This month, take time to sing together over a meal, during playtime or before bed. Worry less about perfect pitch and more about forming a habit your kids will love. Be inspired by the knowledge that to sing our faith is to connect with the God who first sang us into creation.

Practices

  • Pick a song to sing, such as “This Little Light of Mine,” for your prayer before meals. Sing the same song for the month and see how the words inspire you throughout your day.
  • Watch and/or listen to a song together as a family. It could be a hymn, an instrumental arrangement or your favorite camp song. Share which hymn texts stood out to you the most.
  • Read The Lord Is My Shepherd: A Psalm 23 Pop-up Book (Beaming Books, 2020).

Prayers

We pray for musicians and choirs who continue adapting to new worship formats.
We pray for families in the midst of transition.
We pray for residents in long-term care facilities.
We give thanks for the first signs of new life this spring.
We give thanks for good books and friends with whom to share them.
We give thanks for instruments, voices and coming together in song.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.

Service opportunity 

Search online for a video of your favorite song about God’s love. As a family, discern who in your circle could use a burst of inspiration and encouragement. Send that person the link to the song you selected.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is kimberlyknowlezeller.com.

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