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All over this land

Pete Seeger died yesterday. In 1949, Seeger and Lee Hays wrote a protest song of sorts called If I had a Hammer. Over the years, the song was reworked by different artists and in '62 it resurfaced in its most familiar form on the debut album of a trio known only by their first names --- Peter, Paul & Mary. Since that time, the song has been co-opted by different groups for different purposes, the most notable being the Civil Rights Movement. The third verse of the song has these words:

If I had a song, I’d sing it in the morning,

I’d sing it in the evening, all over this land.

I’d sing out danger, I’d sing out a warning,

I’d sing out love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land.

This verse really grabs you if you think about all of the people down through the centuries who have suffered with nothing but a song in their hearts to sustain them. Music is powerful in that way, isn’t it? There’s something in a song that supplies inspiration yet at the same time defies explanation. Maybe that’s why it's so sad when someone loses their song.


In Revelation 13, John presents a terrifying picture involving a dragon (Satan), and two hideous beasts --- one from the sea and one from the earth. The beast from the sea curses God and makes war against the followers of Jesus (v. 5,12), while the second beast works in concert as it compels all who are not followers of the Lamb to worship the first beast.

Juxtaposed with this horrific vision is the picture of Revelation 14. There the Lamb stands on Mount Zion with 144,000 followers. 144,000 is 12 x 12 x 1,000. These numbers represent fullness and completeness. How many of the Lamb’s followers are lost to the beasts? Zero. Zip. Nada. And what are they doing there on Mount Zion with Jesus? Well, they’re singing their song.

It’s a “new” song. In the Scripture, a new song is one that celebrates some new aspect of God’s love and care (Psalm 40:1-3, 98:1ff, Isaiah 42:8-9, 43:18-19). And notice that the only people capable of singing the song are those who have been redeemed (v. 3). You can't name it if you don't claim it.

The church has a song to sing! It’s not one of protest, but victory. It will sustain us in our darkest night as well as remind us on our brightest day that our strength is in Him. No one else can sing this song so if we don’t --- it won’t be heard. That would be a shame because it’s a great song and everyone needs to hear it.

All over this land.
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