My blood was stirred watching The Royal wedding when the congregation sang Jerusalem. The words are strange. They give the impression that Jesus walked through the land of England and preached there. However, it is used quite often for English people to generate patriotic fervour. We sing songs at some great occasions because they tell a story and bind a community together. In teh last couple of hundred years the songs we sing have become more personal, even narcissistic and they lack the power of grand songs that tell a common story.
In church we can sing songs that are happy odes to the self and we can also sing songs that deal with some of the complexities of life. David’s songs were complex in their narration. Maybe more of our modern songs should tell an epic story.
2 Samuel 1
1 After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. 2On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.
3“Where have you come from?” David asked him.
He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.”
4“What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.”
“The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”
5Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”
6 “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. 7When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’
8“He asked me, ‘Who are you?’
“‘An Amalekite,’ I answered.
9“Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’
10“So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”
11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
- What news did the Amalekite bring?
- How did David reward him?
- What did David recall in song?
- What are some significant events in your lifetime?
- Compose a short song of praise or lament (complaint) related to the anwer to 4.