Making a Joyful Noise
Let her sing
Resurrection Sunday service at my little church was like service at many other churches across the nation. The traditional Scripture was read, traditional songs were sung.
If you watch the recording of the livestream on Facebook, you may find yourself a little uncomfortable. It probably won’t be because of the preaching. It probably won’t be because of the recounting of His resurrection. It might be the special music.
Several years ago I was appointed choir director. Our choir consisted of four women, and three men. There were no auditions, just an open call for anyone who wanted to join.
Ann (not her real name) was one of the congregants who decided to join the choir. It raised several eyebrows when she showed up for practice. Ann, you see, can’t sing in tune.
“Are you actually going to let her sing in the choir?” I was asked.
“Yes.” I replied.
When the Holy Spirit tells you to do something He isn’t worried that other people won’t like it. In fact, it is pretty likely that some won’t. Too many people want expressions of faith to be sunshine and roses. They want beautiful people to perform beautifully.
Ann is not a physical beauty. She is a late middle aged, overweight woman. Her smile is ragged, with missing and decayed teeth. Her speech is muddled due to a congenital defect. She is learning challenged (or whatever the PC phrase is for it today). She spent the past 12 months battling cancer, and has not yet gotten her hair back.
What Ann does have is a beautiful, and loving spirit. She dedicated herself to the Lord many years ago. She strives to serve Him. Prior to her cancer battle, Ann kept the grass cut at the church, and cleaned the sanctuary. Every Sunday she would tell me how she swept the carpet, changed the candles, and cleaned.
I confess I was hesitant when she asked to sing solo. My initial response was to ask what song, then say we will see. I told her we would need to rehearse a while. We agreed on a date to start. Then I prayed.
In my prayers I shared with the Lord my concerns about Ann singing solo. I did not want her to embarrass herself. I did not want to be the cause of emotional harm to her. I also did not want to discourage her. I asked the Lord to tell me what to do. So, He did.
Over the course of the next few days, the Lord, using the Holy Spirit, laid upon me His expectation. He expected me to help Ann sing. He reminded me that He has called her to worship Him through song. It is not up to me to decide what is pleasant to His ears.
I felt chastised.
God uses all kinds of imperfect people in his perfect plan. Moses was not a good speaker. It is said he stuttered. But he delivered the people of Israel! David was an adulterer. Yet, David became a great king! Rahab was a prostitute, who was key to the overthrow of Jericho, and is in the genetic line to Christ. The Samaritan woman was living with someone who was not her husband, and is the first to proclaim to others “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
I burned a CD of the song she wanted to sing. She was able to use it at home to practice. We met once a week for about six weeks. Every week she improved so that on the day she performed it was lovely, not perfect, but lovely. The Holy Spirit filled the sanctuary, bringing many of us to tears.
I have no way of knowing just who needed to witness her musical testimony. Maybe someone was feeling sorry for themselves, and hearing her felt the conviction of the Spirit saying, “If she can do this you can [fill in the blank].”
Some time ago, I was in discussion with the choir director of a different church. She was all snooty about how she holds auditions, and how so few people get in. I shared with her that I have a woman in my choir who can’t sing and I am fine with that.
On the day I stand before the Lord for judgment I do not want to explain why I stopped Ann from singing when He called her to do so.
Resurrection Sunday Ann sang “He Lives,” and the verses of “Up From The Grave He Arose.” She sang from her heart, full of love and praise for Jesus!