There is nothing graceful about me. I bumble through life. If someone is going to trip over nothing, it is me. If someone is going to break a glass, or spill a drink, or sling gas everywhere while filling the car, it’s me. If someone is going to talk too loudly, walk too loudly, or sing too loudly, it is me.
God has poured much grace into my life, but sometimes I think he forgot the physical kind of grace.
We have the best sound booth guys at our church. They are truly great. They work behind the scenes, and do much to make things run smoothly.
Inevitably, when I sing, one of our sound guys in particular never fails to tell me, “Yep, no trouble picking you up. You are loud.”
Insert extreme embarrassment. Every single time.
I have always sang loudly. I wish I had a “sweet”, mild singing voice. My girl sings like a song bird. I sing like a duck. An odd duck. A loud, odd duck.
I try to hold back. I want to and try to sing “sweetly”, quietly. I often fail. I barrel ahead like a Clydesdale, pounding out the notes of the song in my brain, and often my foot is stomping right along. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.
This is me on a normal day. Belting out Journey tunes. Or crooning alongside Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash.
But on Easter, it’s 10x worse.
Why is that?
I think it’s because, in those moments, those Resurrection–or any Sunday–moments, I am not just singing. In those moments, two other things are happening:
First, I am preaching to myself:
I am telling my mind and soul “Do you hear these words? These words are truth. They are truth. Set doubt aside. You know. You know. You know. It is not so much that I am convincing myself (though, at times, that has been the case). It is more that I am reminding myself. He is risen. He is risen, self, do you hear? As our pastor preached this morning, who could create such a story? Who can explain the formation of the church after the resurrection, or the fact that His followers were willing to be killed for their beliefs? And, Shelly, look at your own life…..what other explanation is there, for the change that has been wrought in your own life, mind and soul? I am the evidence; I am the answer to my own Thomas-like questions….not me, not what I have done, but how He has taken this life that I have demolished and destroyed and wrecked at every turn, and has saved me. And is saving me.
Second, I am speaking to my God:
Not that I need to be loud for Him to hear me, that’s not what I mean. But sometimes, there is much I want to express to Him, urgently. And, that expression is what is meant by the term worship. I wish I could say that I worship each and every time that I sing. That is not the case. But sometimes…sometimes something clicks. Sometimes, I want to shout, “God, hear these words that I am borrowing from the writer of these lyrics, here are words that express who You are, and what my response should be to who You are and what you have done. Here are words that express what I can not seem to express on my own, with my woefully inadequate words.”
And, along with that, when with others, I am singing these words to You alongside an imperfect body of believers, who also know You, know that You are alive, and know that scripture is truth. We want to worship you. Together. Loudly. Please be near. Please be near.
This Resurrection Sunday.
We sang, as a body of believers. Loudly. As Christ-followers not just in the United States, but across the globe. In Vietnamese. In Swahili. In Cambodia. In Australia. In England. On military bases. In large congregations. Maybe quietly in volume, but loudly in intensity in small, underground house churches. In nursing homes, feebly from beds or in day rooms. In prisons. Inside ornate sanctuaries. At sunrise services on the beach. The body of Christ sang, loudly, and declared that we know that He is risen.
How deep, the Father’s love for us. That saved this wretch.
Hallelujah, What a Savior.
Posted by Nguyen Bui on Sunday, 5 April 2015
Dear friends at Dong Tam Baptist Church at UABC in Honolulu this morning
My friend Rose Bagusu and the children at Tumaini Miles of Smiles Orphanage