Last night some friends and I went to a concert at another church. My co-worker sings in the choir of this church, and she had invited me to their spring concert. Her church is quite different from mine–it’s very formal, what I call “high church”, with robe-wearing ministers, a huge pipe organ, the whole nine yards.
The music was absolutely beautiful, particularly the orchestra that came in from Birmingham especially for this concert. But I have to admit that my favorite parts of the concert were when we audience members were invited to sing along to the “congregational hymns”. Some of the hymns were familiar to me, and there were one or two that I had never heard so sort of had to fake it for a while. Luckily I have a pretty good musical ear and am able to pick up tunes rather quickly.
I’ve always loved to sing, and enjoyed performing as part of a chorus in junior high and high school. I greatly enjoy going to concerts, but there’s something special about being able to participate in the concert rather than just be an audience member.
One of my favorite ways to express love to God is through song. I daresay it’s one of His favorite ways to receive it, too. Tonight I was thinking about the distance that the Old Testament followers of God had to keep between themselves and God. For the most part, their communication had to come through prophets or priests. But I wonder if singing was particularly special to them, if through song they felt more connected to God. Perhaps that was where the joyfulness in making a “joyful” noise comes into play–being able to express their love and praise to God and reflect His love for them through song, in ways that transcended just talking to a priest or offering a sacrifice.
The ability to express ourselves through song, through art, even directly through prayer, is a special blessing, one that I take for granted far too often. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to witness God’s majesty, to see His power and sovereignty at work. But to be able to join in and actively participate with Him–now that is incredible. That is cause for breaking into song, no doubt.