I stand and sing with the congregation to the accompaniment of several different instruments, A praise team leads us. They stand with eyes closed, faces lifted to heaven, bodies swaying, arms waving, and now and then a little shout of victory. They are putting their heart and soul into it for that wonderful presence that hovers near.
A few months ago the music was too loud for me, and I wondered why they couldn’t just turn the volume down a bit. Then one day I discovered a new use for cotton. I just put some in my ears and now the music is just right. Now I am not at all distracted by the noise. In fact I am reminded that all through the bible we are instructed to make a joyful NOISE unto the Lord. Saints of old sang, danced, played their instruments, anything to give praise to God. I cannot imagine that they were quiet. I don’t think anyone asked them to turn the volume down a bit.
I am reminded that years ago I played my accordion in the church orchestra, and right beside me sat my friend, Emerson, playing his sax. We wouldn’t be too far into the service before our song director, Pearl, would begin to sing louder and louder, then she was skipping across the platform, her feet and hands keeping time to the music. She never missed a beat. She was putting heart and soul into every song. Suddenly we became aware of a holy presence. Emerson and I looked at each other, and he gave a little nod-our code for “Let’s jazz it up,” and jazz it up we did. We began to play louder and louder, adding trills and extra notes, and slurs, he on his sax and I on my accordion. We put our heart and soul into our music in an effort to do our best for that wonderful presence that filled the service. What a time we had! I think maybe some of the older folk wondered what on earth we were doing, and even Pearl gave us a questioning look once or twice.
Today I wonder if perhaps we have lost something over the years. Maybe we should seek a remedy for our own problem of being distracted by the ‘noise.’ Maybe we should just put some cotton in our ears, and join in the worship with all our heart and soul. It could be that we will, once again, feel that blessed presence that transforms.
- Written by Marjorie Todd