(Today’s post by Marc Cannon)
I’ve moved on to more obscure genres these days…Red Dirt Country and Classic American Folk; singer songwriters who love the music more than the success.
I picked up a guitar when I was 18 and tried my best to learn a few chords. I played so much, my first guitar is scarred with ditches dug into the fret board where the D, C, & G positions are located; the most common 3 chords played. I have never had a single guitar lesson in my life…and it is evident when I rake the pick across a poorly set up 6 string. About the age of 27-28 I resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to be able to duplicate Duane Allman (The Greatest Guitarist Ever), Jerry Reed, Roy Clark, Lightning Hopkins or even Todd Snider. My dreams of being a platinum selling recording artist died when I couldn’t master the bar-chord. Upon that realization, I decided that I would use my limited skills as a guitarist, nonexistent grasp of music theory, and my better than average ability to develop a thought, theme or cause to construct a set of lyrics or a poem to kickoff what has been deemed the most unsuccessful songwriting career in human history.
When I open the book of Psalms and start to read, it is a lock that I’m going to read it either in a poetic meter, or on top of me humming some sort of melody. I do this every time and every time it sounds nothing like it must have sounded with David strumming a lyre on lead being followed by the loot on rhythm. Here in chapter 108 David is instructing us on how we’re to give praise. David lifts up his praise to God in a song with his heart fixed on God. He focuses on His attributes and mercy and His willingness to join with us as we walk this planet. While this is Psalms, David isn’t advocating praise only comes from song. Wouldn’t that limit our chances to exalt Him? I think it’s important for us all to not limit our praise to a corporate setting but make it a constant state of acknowledgement. If you see something you’re thankful for, tell Him. If you hear your son or daughter say I love you, Praise Him. If you see a sunset that brings tears to your eyes because you know without a shadow of a doubt it wasn’t just an accident, Praise Him. If you hear a song that leads you to praise, sing to Him. If we fix our heart in concert with Him and just exalt His majesty we’re praising Him.
Before I began to write songs, I looked at praise as 3 hymns, a sermon and the doxology before a plate of fried chicken and pot luck mashed potatoes and gravy. The time in my life I started writing, I was a living country song and it wasn’t hard for me to put my experience to a tune to express just how miserable I was. It was the first time that I could cope with some of the downfalls I had in life. It was a way to tell my story without revealing who the subject was; a confession of sorts I guess…Even if no one else heard it. Looking back on Psalms I can’t help but think of how God must love music. He set this universe in motion so that He is glorified and it all works in a rhythm. It wasn’t until after the fact, I realized He gave me music to express myself and that brought me closer to Him. The progression in that era on my life led directly to more organic ways of praise for me than reciting out of a hymnal or reading a praise screen. I believe Psalms was given to us not just as s song, but as a transcendent example of how important it is that we praise Him for his mercy and His unwavering love for each of us.