The Song That Never Ends

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1, NIV)

Sheri Lewis was a puppeteer/ventriloquist. Her best-known creation is a wooly-looking sock puppet called Lambchop. Sheri, Lambchop, and company entertained kids through story and song for decades. One song of hers is called “The Song That Never Ends.” A simple tune that continually loops back on itself and easily becomes stuck in our mind.

In the Bible, there are several examples of an unending song. One such example is the Book of Acts, since its story continues even today. Another is Psalms 136. While Psalm 136 only contains 26 verses, its structure and purpose invites us to join in.

It is possible that this Psalm was written during the Babylonian exile. The Jews were stripped from their homeland and carted off to modern-day Iraq. There, they worked in whatever way their captors wanted. It was not a pleasant experience. But in that crucible, their faith was refined as silver and gold. When their captivity ended, the songs they created, such as Psalm 136, were brought back to Israel and incorporated into their feasts and worship at the Temple.

Psalm 136 praises God for who He is, for specific acts of redemption, and for creation. The structure is liturgical with a call and response. In all cases, the response is the same “His love endures forever.” While the Psalm itself does end, its structure invites us to continue this infinite song of praise to God.

We often live from one crisis to the next. Our focus pulled to the next problem. This psalm encourages us to recount all the ways God has previously moved in history – both the grand history of the Biblical record and the near history of our own experiences. But more than that. It also reminds us over and over again of one key truth. God’s love endures forever.

To put a New Testament view on it – Praise God, who sent His only Son; His love endures forever. He forgave our sin; His love endures forever. But we could also add intensely personal stanzas to this forever song. God set me in a family; His love endures forever. Kindled the love between my wife and me; his love endures forever. Kept our children safe; His love endures forever.

No matter the worry, concern, struggle, or problem we face, God’s love endures forever. Regardless of the pain of the past, God’s love endures forever. Even in the face of a hopeless future, God’s love endures forever.

This song invites us to join in, to continue its eternal recounting of God’s love. The point isn’t how you join the song. You could join in times of silent prayer. Or you could take the time to write out some lines of your own. Or you could make loud proclamations from a mountaintop. The point is to do it. To join the song of offering praise to God.  Recounting His love is truly a song that never ends.

Dale Heinold
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