Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor
When i lived in the Panhandle, Dan Fogelberg released an album called The Innocent Age (don’t judge—unless you are one of about 20 people on the planet, he played the guitar better than you do.)
It’s a double album, with 16 songs about time, life and lamenting the loss of childhood innocence—all the wisdom he had accrued in his thirty years on earth. (Yeah, at thirty he was already thinking about this stuff.)
One of the songs on the record is called The Sand and the Foam and contains the line ‘time stills the singing a child holds so dear.’
Immediately after listening to the song i went outside to either go to my job at the radio station, or just drive aimlessly up and down Main Street,’cause that’s all there was to do in the Panhandle, when i caught the sound of a little kid across the street from the house I was living in. He was sitting on the front porch, singing as loudly as he possibly could. I don’t know if he thought nobody was listening and probably didn’t care if they were, but he was just sitting there, singing.
Most kids love to sing and dance. If you don’t believe me, put the Trolls movie in the DVD player and grab yourself a three-year-old.
Mark Twain said “all of us contain music and truth, but most of us just don’t know how to get it out.” I think it’s true, and it’s especially evident in kids. Music just flows out of ‘em. I remember being a little kid on my red swing set in my grandparent’s backyard, swinging so high the poles were lifting off the ground, singing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” at the top of my lungs like I would explode if it didn’t come out of me.
A lot of you were probably the same way when you were little, but somewhere along the way we lose that joy. Maybe we still contain music and truth, but a lot of us just forget how to get the music out. Getting the truth out is a subject for a whole ‘nother blog post.
I’m not saying that i wish life was like a musical where we sang sentences to one another, or spontaneously broke into musical numbers like The Greatest Showman (and y’all would certainly lose me at the dancing parts if we did) but there definitely is a time to sing as a response to what God has done in our lives.
One of the reasons i like to do music for re:generation on Monday nights is because those people sing like crazy. They feel like they’ve been forgiven much and they respond to God with exhilaration.
Some of them may not be the best singers in the world by musical standards but it’s a beautiful noise.
You may not be a music person, you may not care at all about Dan Fogelberg or singing at all, for that matter, but music matters a great deal to God. The Bible is full of songs and Zephaniah 3:17 even speaks about God singing over us, his people.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
If God Himself sings over his children. How can we not respond with singing back to him?
Every week, i have the privilege of standing in front of a room full (some services) of people at Stonepoint. The band has rehearsed and we’ve ironed the bugs out of the arrangements and hopefully sound alright by the time folks arrive.
I like to play the guitar and sing. I love leading the band and the interaction with the rest of the players and singers when something works out just like we’d rehearsed, or the way i’d heard it in my head a few days before. I’ve done it on and off since i was 14 years old, and it’s probably ingrained in my DNA strands, since most of my kids picked up instruments fairly easily. (Sorry, Shelby!!)
But my favorite part of a service is not singing.
Every week, i try to put a spot or two into the set where i can back off the mic and just let people carry things. Those are the spots that inspire me, make me smile on stage (ok…occasionally smile) and remind me of why i can’t imagine doing anything else on Sundays. The voice of the saints crying out to God is a beautiful thing, and i pray we don’t take it for granted.
So if your friends from other churches say something about Stonepoint not having a choir, i hope you’ll correct them and let them know that we have the best choir around. Nobody wears robes, they aren’t seated according to musical parts, and some can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but rest assured that it is a choir and that God is pleased with what he hears.
He loves singers, even bad ones!
Don’t let time, or life, still your singing, church. Let’s make a joyful noise to the Lord this Sunday!