Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Beautiful Cacophony

Cacophony—n., harsh or discordant sound.

I cannot sing. Well, I can, but unless there’s just something wrong with you, you probably wouldn't enjoy the result. I’d say I sing offkey, but the fact is, I never even know what key what I SHOULD be singing in, so I have no idea if I’m off it or not.
Given the fact that my musical talents are at their best when I just keep my mouth shut, HOW did I end up in a choir?

I joined at the request of a friend, and I had no intention of actually subjecting people to my voice, I just thought if I went, it would help her to go, and she actually has a nice singing voice and she needed to be there. But, she didn’t go much anyway, and now she's not even at the same church.

So why am I STILL in choir? I ask myself that a lot, especially on nights like this past Wednesday, when I look at the song and see all those little notes and symbols everywhere (yeah, I can’t read music, I just go by how many notes there are, and whether they are up high or down low), and then we start singing and I just have NO clue whether I’m singing the same notes as the other Altos or not. I suspect I’m not.

But every now and then, I am reminded of why I am still in choir. This Wednesday’s practice was one of those times. We were practicing a piece that just seemed especially hard to me, one of those with lots & lots of notes all over the place, and times where we all sing together and times when we sing in parts, and I’m never sure how to tell which is which. I was pretty frustrated with the whole thing, but, this time apparently I wasn’t the only one, because the first couple of times we sounded like some sort of wounded, dying animal. It was, indeed, a cacophony.

Then our music/worship minister related a story about when he was in school. Now, I may not tell the story precisely right, but you’ll get the gist of it. As students came in, the teacher would hand them a piece of paper with something written on it. Then, after they were all seated, he would point at one end of the room, and move his hand across the room, and as he pointed at each section, each person would begin to say what was on their paper, and they would repeat it over and over, as new voices joined in saying what was on THEIR paper. When he got to the opposite end of the room, then he would start back the other way and as he pointed, each person would stop, until finally there was just one voice left, and then it would become silent.

Now, you would think that would sound pretty awful, a bunch of people talking at the same time and all saying different things. But, orchestrated as it was, it became a harmony, and was apparently an awe-inspiring thing to hear. It was, in fact, a “beautiful” cacophony.

A beautiful cacophony. That’s what God hears when His people all simply lift their voices in praise to him. It doesn’t matter whether we are singing or humming or speaking, whether we are speaking different words, or singing the same words but at different levels of “ability.” Whether we are all singing on key, whether in parts or in unison, none of that matters to God….it is the WORSHIP that He hears, and He loves it, because He loves us. There is no sweeter sound to His ears than His children expressing their love for Him.

And THAT is why I’m still in choir. Because after I make all the jokes about how bad my voice is, after I struggle through practice and still can't sing the song “right," after I put away all the insecurities and imperfections of being ME…when I can just open my mouth and sing, to an Audience of One…then I truly worship, and there are simply no better moments in life.

Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” Psalm 147:1


Julianne Bell said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just praise the Lord in total abandon (godly of course)? I confess that I have moments where I concern myself what another is thinking. I often close my eyes during worship so I can focus on God and quit worrying about "whatever" crosses my mind otherwise.

I cannot recall the saying, but it was something to the effect that if we actually knew how little others gave us a thought, our feelings would really have a reason to be hurt. LOL!

Blessings to you!

Dennis said...

God really does like to hear His children's praise. I love it when my granddaughter makes a greeting card for me. Her letters a different sizes with different slants and occasionally backwards. But I am so pleased that she thought enough of me to write the words and glue the pictures (usually with way too much glue). When we praise, when we pray, often God is amused by our feeble efforts. Always He is pleased!

I heard these words in a song the other day:

"Sing like nobody's listening,
Live like it's Heaven on Earth,
Work like you don't need money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
And dance like no one's watching."

How liberating!