Monday, March 26, 2007

Sing and Rejoice!

I just spent over an hour here at home playing the piano and enjoying some good, ol’ Black gospel songs—the kind of music I just don’t hear anymore (unless I’m playing it!). I also played some old cassette recordings of church choirs from the past that I’ve directed and played for. It was good to hear some music I’ve not thought about for some time, and just sing and play along with the tapes and, through my music-making, rejoice in God.

I happen to believe that God enjoys syncopated rhythms and bluesy chords, like I do. I also think God enjoys toe-tapping, hand-clapping Black gospel music. I don’t even think God is bothered when someone, out of sincere joy in Christ, “cuts a step”, and dances before Him! God knows I love fine choral music and hymns. For instance, this afternoon, I attended a very enjoyable concert by a Chicago-area college choir that was given at a church a few miles away. It was a great way to spend a portion of my Sunday afternoon, listening to music by Mozart and Brahms and Moses Hogan. And then, there was this morning, at my own church, when I was substituting for our organist. We sang that great old Wesleyan hymn, “And Can It Be”; and, you know, I just love pulling out the 32’ pedal stop and making that organ rumble as we lift our voices on that final refrain:

Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

My Lord! I don’t know how one can not be stirred by that hymn! So, yes, I love “proper” church music of all kinds.

On the other hand, I also love that music that I learned at home from my “folks”: that good old-fashioned Black gospel music that I used to hear in church. Tonight, I sat down at the piano and laid into some “Come On, Children, Let’s Sing”:

Come on, children, let’s sing about the goodness of the Lord!
Come on, children, let’s shout all about God’s rich reward:
How He guides our footsteps every day,
Keeps us walking in the narrow way.
Come on, children, let’s sing,
Come on, children, let’s shout
About the Lord Almighty that brought us out—
There’s none like Him, without a doubt!
Come on, children, let’s sing about the goodness of the Lord!

If you can listen to that kind of music and not, at least, tap a toe, you must be dead! The music makes you want to move! I tell you, I had that Steinway rocking! I even broke a sweat! But, that’s all right, too. Whether stately hymns or foot-stomping gospel music, I believe it’s all pleasing to the Lord. After all, this is what I read:

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
(Psalm 100:1-2)

Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
(Psalm 47:1)

Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
(Psalm 105:2-3)

As we launch into another week, I encourage you to be glad, and rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice, not because things are going well with you—in fact, things might be going quite badly—but, rejoice because of who God is and because He’s had mercy on you. And sing to Him. Literally, sing to Him. Your voice, singing God’s praise, is sweet music to His ears. And, if you feel so moved (and no one’s watching), I don’t think God would mind one bit if you just danced for joy before Him. However you choose to express yourself, determine this week to celebrate God!

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