We all stand privy to the tragic and horrific developments of the shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas. Unfortunately, it's not the first time we hear the sounds of mindless violence, disregard for life, racial bigotry, and discord. To a great degree, we've heard this sound before: we've heard this tune before, we've heard this song before.
Nevertheless, we stand convinced that hope lies in the One who sits on the throne. We gather with the conviction that there is a new song arising.
"And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll / and to open its seals, / because you were slain, / and with your blood you purchased for God / persons from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9).
And they sang a new song
"Sing unto the Lord a new song": in order to sing the new, we must recognize that the old song already stands played out.
We have all heard the old song—the song of hatred, sin, racism, intolerance, fear, division, strife, and brokenness.
We have all heard the old song—the song of moral relativism, cultural decadence, spiritual apathy, and ecclesiastical lukewarm-ness.
We have all heard the old song—from Louisiana to Minnesota and Dallas, Texas, we all heard the old song of lives prematurely taken, dreams shattered, communities broken, and the collective gasp of a nation suffocated by despair.
We have all heard the old song.
But praise God, we gather as followers of Christ to declare that we are not the people of the old song. We are the voices of the new song.
We are people of the new song because we understand the following truths:
Today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity.
We are what we tolerate.
There is no such thing as "comfortable Christianity."
And silence is not an option.
For that matter, we stand as a choir of the redeemed to declare prophetically—not out of the womb of emotional exuberance, but by the impetus of God's Spirit—that this generation carries an anointing. An anointing to do what? To sing a new song.
We are here to declare the following: there is a new song arising. This new song will not be sung exclusively by a black chorus, a white ensemble, a Latino band, or an Asian soloist. This new song will be sung by a multi-ethnic kingdom culture choir washed by the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore, let us be clear. To the singers of the old song; to those who raise the volume of hatred and discord; to the spirits of captivity, violence, bigotry, inequality and injustice: we raise our voices, and in perfect harmony, in the key of grace, we sing the following: "For every Pharaoh, there must be a Moses. For every Goliath, there must be a David. For every Nebuchadnezzar, there must be a Daniel. For every Jezebel, there must be an Elijah. For every Herod, there must be a Jesus. And for every devil that rises up against us, there is a mightier God that rises up for us."
What is the new song?
"In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; / God makes salvation / its walls and ramparts" (Isa. 26:1).
America, when we sing this new song, our nation will be strong.
What is the new song? The new song elevates the lyrics of imago dei. Simply stated, the new song will push back on violence, hatred, and bigotry by amplifying the eternal truth that all of us—without exception—carry the image of God.
What is the new song? The new song exposes the light of truth, love, grace, and compassion. It empowers us to live out Matthew 5:14-16. It exhorts us to "be light" in the midst of darkness, for when light stands next to darkness, light always wins.
What is the new song? The new song exhorts us to execute 2 Chronicles 7:14: "[I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
What is the new song? The new song engages us with the rhythmic truth that the only agenda that can heal and reconcile America is not the agenda of the donkey or the elephant. The only agenda that can reconcile this nation is the agenda of the lamb.
Silence is not an option
They sang a new song because silence was not an option.
Silence is not an option when innocent lives are taken.
Silence is not an option when my African American brothers and sisters live in fear of those sworn to protect them.
Silence is not an option when men and women who risk their lives daily to keep us from harm stand slaughtered by hatred.
Silence is not an option when the benefactors of division continue to advance a narrative full of dichotomies instead of juxtaposing truth with love.
America, it's time for the new song. It's time to reconcile Billy Graham's message of salvation in Christ with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's march for justice.
It's time to sing the song that says, "Love those that hate you. Bless those that curse you. Forgive those that offend you. Heal those that wound you. Feed those that starve you. Be light; change the world."
Finally, my brothers and sisters, let's do this. Now is the time. Now is the time to sing the new song. Now is the time to raise the volume of truth, justice, love, and grace. Now is the time to take racism captive and unleash the unity all hell fears.
Let us sing in one accord. Let us sing with the comforter conducting, while goodness and mercy provide the vocals. Let us sing.
Sing, America, sing!
Sing and walk like Enoch. Sing and believe like Abraham. Sing and dress like Joseph. Sing and stretch like Moses. Sing and shout like Joshua. Sing and dance like David. Sing and fight like Gideon. Sing and pray like Daniel. Sing and build like Nehemiah. Sing and live like Jesus.
Sing and do justice. Sing and love mercy. Sing and walk humbly before God. Sing and be light. For when light stands next to darkness, light always wins.
Samuel Rodriguez is the president of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the senior pastor of New Season Church in Sacramento, CA.