"Death has been swallowed up in victory."
1 Corinthians 15:54 (NIV)
Recently, I stood at the side of a grave and sang at the top of my lungs. A respected Cree elder had passed away. There was deep grief, but there was also the hope of the resurrection. We sang with all we had because we believe we will see him again.
What makes you sing? For me, it is the great hope we have in Jesus. Life has true and ultimate meaning because God himself will not leave us in the grave. As the Psalmist declares. “I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 146:2) And, “I will sing praise to my God with my dying breath.”
Paul writes this in regards to the resurrection: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:13) But because of the resurrection, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” When we go through dark times in this life and all hope seems to be lost, it can be hard to sing. But when we know there is more to come, that we will be raised with Christ, everything changes. It inspires us to sing. This is a hope desperately needed in so many of the northern reservations.
About seven years ago, Tim, a friend from Tennessee, came up to my wife’s home reservation of Muskrat Dam, Ontario, to do a guitar clinic. We gathered seven teenagers together who were interested in playing guitar. We miraculously found enough guitars, some in pretty rough shape, for each of the participants. They loved it. Seven years later, one of them, in particular, has become quite a guitar player and singer of gospel songs. Plus, because of Tim's connections in Nashville, people have donated forty guitars to Muskrat Dam and the surrounding isolated Native communities. We look forward to doing more guitar clinics to inspire Native teenagers to learn to sing and play. With this platform, we have the opportunity to share the truth of the gospel and our resurrection hope. Through this, I believe more teenagers will find new faith, new hope, and a deeper reason to sing!
Remember, you, too, can sing. It is especially during the dark times when this gift of music can lift our hearts towards hope.
Dear Lord, thank you for conquering death and giving us a reason to sing. Help us lift our hearts in praise as we remember the hope we have because of what you have done for us on the cross. And, Lord, help us take this hope to the world in any way we can. Amen.