One Sunday in the ancient past I was the associate pastor of the church. I was on the platform with the senior minister. It was song time, and I was blasting away at the song. In the Methodist church we follow the admonition of John Wesley when it comes to congregational singing. His words might be helpful for all of you.
John Wesley said:
“Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor ashamed of its being heard, than when you sang the songs of Satan.”
This means no muttering or mumbling when you are singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
This one should be posted on the choir loft and read every Sunday by the tenors and sopranos, especially those who have started warbling:
“Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.”
“Above all sing spiritually.” Wesley said.
I was on that platform singing lustily, modestly and spiritually. In the real world can you use lustily and modestly in the same paragraph? That is the fun of being a Methodist; we can straddle the Grand Canyon. We believe A but we also strongly believe B. One writer has noted that John Wesley was “spiritually promiscuous.” He believed anything that worked. We are still following in Father Wesley’s footsteps.
I was blaring away on the hymn and the senior minister leaned over to me and said, “Would you please stop singing you are throwing me off key.” I didn’t know the senior minister was a vocal hitchhiker, but it appeared he was caught between my modulations and the actual music coming from the church organ. I was also messing him up because I am the designated “syncopator.” If you want a good rhythm fouled up, just call me in. I can throw off a marching band!
I remind all the musical elite that the Bible tells me to “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”
I try to follow the Bible whenever it suits me. That was a theological snide remark in case you missed it.
I can’t sing.
I sing in the shower and the dogs sit outside the shower howling! We make beautiful bathroom music. I admire those of you who have the gift of song. I admire musicians because you have rhythm and the wonderful internal clock that allows you to keep the beat. Your gifts have lifted me into the heights of heaven. I love church because of the singing. If we could sing, then take the offering and finish the church service off reading the Bible with more singing I would call that a great Sunday. Please notice the purposeful omission of the sermon!
I keep plugging away, with my singing. I have been elected “first chair” of the monotone section. That section is located near the back door.
The Bible implies very strongly that Jesus sang. I wonder if he was a tenor or a baritone.
We are not judged by what we “can’t do.” We are held accountable for what we can do and will do for the cause of Christ.
What can you and will you do to change your world?
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