The psalms Medema sang as a church-going child never left him. One of his most treasured memories is standing nearby his grandfather in church as he sang the Genevan Psalter version of Psalm 42 with overflowing passion and unending enthusiasm.
Years after re-entering the church Medema was invited to be the featured musician at a gathering of three thousand church-going teenagers. It was the 1970’s, and the charismatic renewal movement was sweeping the church. “TV evangelists were everywhere,” he remembers, “healing everyone. So convention planners chose the theme ‘Thriving in the Spirit.’” For their logo, the planning team chose a tree with fruit on its branches.
When they asked him to write a theme song, his first thought was, “This church loves the psalms, and psalm 1 is about a tree. I’m going to take off on that.” He knew hip teenagers of the 70’s didn’t love the psalms but he wanted to tap into their roots and history. He had grown up singing psalms every week, and knew they had as well. He thought “If I can, I want to bring us back to our identity.” So he started exploring the idea of a tree. Many attendees, like him and his grandpa Medema, were of Dutch heritage and he thought, “One of the primary places such people find themselves in is winter…” Off he went, exegeting the tree. The musical result endures as “the Tree Song.” Psalm 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlqQ_QkKqYs&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fprofesorbaker.wordpress.com%2F2011%2F06%2F27%2Ftree-song-by-ken-medema%2F&feature=player_embedded)