Ken Medema on music,travel,life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Reflection on Inauguration Day

Like so many many millions of people, I was swept up yesterday by the movement, the moment, the magic of what is going on in this country. I thought of many friends around the world who must be listening with relief, hope, and amazement as we watched little signs that things are perhaps changing in America. After being glued to the television for several hours, I decided to take a break and hear some music.

I am very much attached to a public radio program called PipeDreams. It is two hours of organ music with a new theme each week. Yesterday, it was a live program from Southern Adventist University with much playing and singing. In the middle of this program, there was a set of musical variations on a psalm tune that I remember from my youth. We sang Psalm 42 to this tune but in this program the choir sang verses from Isaiah between the organ variations.
"Comfort Comfort ye my people,
speak ye peace," thus saith our God,
"Comfort those who sit in darkness,
mourning in their sorrows now"

Because the tune was one that I knew and loved and associated with loving people in my past, because those words of comfort have always been immensely important, because I heard comfort and peace being spoken to the people on television, I totally lost it. There I was standing in front of my computer listening to those verses again and again crying like a silly boy, amazed at how things come together to teach, remind, bless, and encourage.

I'm so glad that for that one moment I was awake and listening. Goodness I long for the Church I love so dearly to experience the kind of revival that calls her back to her essentials.

"Love one another, love your neighbor as yourself,
Love your enemies, show mercy, love justice, walk humbly,
Abide in me and I in you,
I have called you friends, for you know what I am doing,
Go and preach the gospel to every nation."

As I remember the words spoken by Jesus and his early followers, words I memorized as a child, I realize that in these words there is the power to change and renew the Church if we will but listen and dare to imagine that our God is able to do a new thing, in these days.

I want to believe that the Church can find a way beyond all it's theological bickering, worship wars, whining, complaining, and egotism to a place of humble daring to be the loving presence of Christ in the world. I know this has been said a million times before by much finer and more elegant mouths than mine, but not until it is said and believed by all the people can the Church really become what it can be and longs to be.

Well, I haven't sung a concert for a month now and I sing again this next Sunday. Goodness, I wonder if I'll have anything to sing about?


  1. Mr. Medema, I am trying to come up with a song from my past. My husband thinks you may have wrote it. Did you write a song with the words, "You are the Christ the son of the Living God, I say you are the Christ....." If this is your song could you tell me the title and where I might be able to find all the words? For the past 3 weeks I have been studying Mark 8 and it makes me think of this song.

    Belinda Nease

  2. I am thinking that if I sang that line, it must have been improvised. I can't think of a song that includes it. If anyone else can, let us know. Ken