Psalm 101. Whistling My Simple Theme Song.

Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 101. (MsgB) A David Psalm

My theme song is God’s love and justice, and I’m singing it right to You, God.

I recently ran across a web-based poll of Americans, identifying our all-time favorite TV theme songs. As a guy who watched a lot of TV growing up and a musician who’s a real sucker for TV themes, I couldn’t resist. Wanna count down the Top 10 with me?

10. The Brady Bunch.“Here’s the story” that we can all finish. As obnoxious and candy-sweet as this 70’s situation comedy was, there’s not too many folks out there who can’t recite at least a few lines from the lyrics of this popular TV theme song.

9. The Twilight Zone. Four little notes. Played over and over again. No lyrics. But who needs ‘em. One of the shortest TV themes in history, but certainly one of the most eerie and memorable.

8. The Muppet Show.“It’s time to play the music” and with it came an array of funny, fuzzy, colorful characters certain to make you laugh. This TV theme was all about fun and making merry.

7. Hill Street Blues. TV cop shows have always had dramatic theme songs. I’m old enough to remember Dragnet’s famous ‘dom-da-da-dom’ opening tune, but for those younger than me, this suspenseful cop-show theme is the one most remember. Hey, let’s be careful out there.

6. Gilligan’s Island. Some of the most memorable TV theme songs actually tell the show’s entire story in less than 3 minutes. Two 1960’s classics come to mind. The Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan’s Island are masterpieces at giving viewers the big picture before the first commercial hits the screen.

5. Mission Impossible. TV thrillers have always had theme songs with suspense at their core. Minor keys and short staccato string sounds always grab your attention, and the Mission Impossible’s theme did it better than most. 

4. Star-Trek.Would Star-Trek be as popular today if the theme song used for the 1960’s TV show been a dude? Who knows. But this airy lilt with its’ ethereal female vocalist and a triumphant finale took us where no TV-watcher had been before.

3. Hawaii Five-O. Was it the lush Hawaiian scenery or the driving, up-beat tempo of this theme song that keeps this campy 1960’s cop show in people’s minds? While no one remembers the show’s characters, nearly everyone can hum a few bars of the song.

2. M*A*S*H. First heard in the movie as “Suicide is Painless,” TV producers scrapped the lyrics and made this melancholy melody into one of America’s favorite TV theme songs. Loosing by a close margin, just behind the winner…

1. Cheers. Who doesn’t want to go somewhere where everybody knows your name? I’m not sure if it’s the catchy ragtime piano introduction or the feel-good lyrics that took this song to the top. Either way, when it comes to TV theme songs, it just doesn’t get any better than this.

While there are several components that go into the writing of a successful TV theme song, the key is to keep it simple.  My friend, Brian Doerksen, writer of numerous worship songs sung around the world, used to tell me this. “Marty, when writing a memorable song, always use the whistle test.” The whistle test consists of this basic rule. If a person can whistle the melody after just a few hearings of the song, you may just have a hit on your hands. As you go back through the list of the top-ten TV theme songs of all-time, I’m guessing that there are few Americans who can’t whistle the first few bars of each of these memorable tunes. So, before we leave this little blog detour on TV theme songs, let me ask you this. Did you ever stop and ask yourself…

If my life has a theme song, what song would it be?

As I see it, when King David says that his theme song is God’s love and justice, I’m guessing he really means it. Some people might call it monotonous when a person keeps harping on the same theme each time you meet them. But, in fact, if you can find a theme as brilliant as God’s love and justice, why change it up? To me, it’s brilliant. From my seat in the ballpark, I say, “go David, go!” As a matter of fact, I say, “Play it again, King David, play it again. I never get tired of hearing your tune!”

My prayer: God, Your love and justice are worthy lyrics for any theme song. I like the fact that King David decided to take that powerful theme for his very own. I choose to whistle along with him, yet today. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: So how might I have overcomplicated my life’s theme song?  Have I added way too many twists and complications, turning a simple, whistle-able song into a complex multiple-movement composition? What might I do to strip off all the codas and elongated second and third endings, and make my life’s theme song as simple as King David’s?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?

Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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