My ears perked up. Sitting in the next to last row I heard a voice singing behind me – a voice which undoubtedly belonged in the choir. Except she can’t be in the choir because she sits with her precious granddaughter, whom she is raising. The child isn’t be more than nine years old, but she has the range of an adult. I’m talking she can seriously belt it out. She sings with exuberance despite the tragedies in her young life. The joy of Jesus flows like fresh living water out of this child who recently emerged from the baptismal waters, not long after she emerged from fire. We were singing a song way out of my range. Okay, let’s face it, I don’t have a range.
Psalm 95:1, “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” KJV
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT PITCH AND KEY ARE
No one ever sat in front of me and thought I belonged in the choir. Instead they likely thought their ears were under aerial assault. So really, I should have killed the mike. Instead I sang. Do you hear me? I sang. With a live mike. On purpose.
For the first time in my life I sang in harmony. Not musical harmony mind you; spiritual harmony.
John 4:23, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” NIV
NO ONE CARED
I don’t even think they noticed I was off key or pitch or whatever I am supposed to be on. At least if they did they didn’t care. Because it wasn’t about me, it was about worship. So I sang into the live mike,
And it was a little taste of Heaven.
Revelation 7:9-10, “I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there-all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing: Salvation to our God on his Throne! Salvation to the Lamb!” MSG
Recently I have had opportunities to speak at several events among diverse denominations. Singing a capela around the campfire the pleasing blend of coordinated melodies rose with the smoke like an aroma of worship ascending toward Heaven. And God was there. The previous night, I soaked in uninhibited praise with arms raised and bodies swaying in front of the altar. The Holy Spirit was there. The week before, I bounced up and down with a vibrant band at an interfaith conference. The presence of the Lord was in that place too. How we worshiped didn’t matter, what mattered is that God showed up.
Revelation 19:1, “After this I heard something like the loud voice of a vast multitude in heaven, saying: Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God.” HCSB
With the exception of small spelling variations Hallelujah is the same in nearly every language. My personal favorite is the Japanese translation ハレルヤ Hareruya but I think it’s because it sounds like what the Jetson’s dog Astro sang in Chris Rice’s silly song What if Cartoons got Saved.
Maybe we all need to get out of our comfort zones. I love my church and I love the way we worship mixing traditional with a sweet spirit, but it was pretty amazing to experience women locking arms and dancing a criss-cross pattern through the sanctuary while singing:
Hava nageli, hava nerenena
I’m not sure what it means but I think it’s the language Jesus spoke.
In the spring I visited my local Catholic church and received the ashes on my forehead. I think I accidentally broke protocol but I hope they will let me return this year on Ash Wednesday. The ceremony was meaningful because God dealt with my heart and that is precisely where worship begins.
Romans 12:1, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” ESV
So worship. If you find yourself in need, worship. If you find yourself with plenty, worship. If you want God to show up, worship. If you are wondering where God is then remember, He inhabits the praises of His people. Worship with all your brothers and sisters in Christ. Not by protocol, not by tradition, but in spirit and in truth. Worship the One worthy of praise.
Be bold and leave the microphone on too.