My father and I have a song. You know-- an "our song." I have this vivid memory of sitting beside him in the front seat of our little white VW Beetle in 1974, when I was around 3, and "our song" came on the radio-- "Sing... Sing a song... sing out loud... sing out strong! Sing of good things, not bad/Sing of happy, not sad..." Remember that one? I remember first hearing it on Sesame Street (vintage Sesame Street-- it grew up with my generation and I firmly believe that we were better for it). Daddy and I would sing that song and laugh and laugh... just thinking of it now warms my heart. I love my dad.
Today I think of the fact that I have grown up with my earthly father telling me to sing. Once, just before I gave my life back to the Lord (just before I turned 21), he got so frustrated with me.... My dad is the gentlest person I know, but he was angry with the fact that I refused to sing. I had made tiny forays into singing while in high school, but the truth was that I had really, really gifted singing friends around me and was totally intimidated, though I would hardly admit it. Tori, Heather-- my friends could straight up sing. So could I, but I held back.
But Dad knew that I could sing and he knew that there was a reason for it. My dad wanted to hear my voice, saw me dying inside of a thousand diseases of the heart, and wanted to hear my voice.
Today I am thinking of that. Only, I'm thinking of my Father and His longing to hear our voices-- He knows our need to worship Him. My friend Bryan is hosting something he's calling a "travelling worship time" or something (see his blog-- it's on my links list) tonight (I'm home, sick)- he's home from YWAM, trying to hear God's direction for his life and pursuing every good thing he can think of in the meantime.... I think that it is so, so important and brilliant that he thought to organize a worship time... when in doubt, praise. That's one thing I'm thinking of.
The other is this: the church, as every, every, everyone is saying, is being shaken. The reality is, it's been a long time coming, too. The Paulks at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in DeKalb county are being shaken in a mighty way; certain big-time televangelists are being questioned about their financial integrity; and various and sundry church scandals on smaller (and some larger) scales world-wide. The shaking there is a good thing.
But then there is the inexplicable attack, this craziness, on our brothers and sisters at YWAM Denver and in the Springs. Unbelievable. I read an outlandishly stupid comment on a blog that claimed that it was pure hypocrisy on the part of these missionaries that they turned the soon-to-be shooter away-- but has that commenter ever lived on a base? Do they understand that the people who who asked that young man to leave were kids and that they did the right thing? That a YWAM base is not designed to be a homeless shelter-- it's a training facility [often] populated largely by young men and women in their early 20's, and the students there are not equipped to work with people with certain mental issues? That it would be dangerous and stupid for them to allow an aggressive individual to sleep on the premises when they do not know him, have no way of containing him, have no idea how to handle him? We had individuals like that at every YWAM base I worked with. Those bases are specifically designed to accomodate a certain ministry. To suggest that those kids did anything hypocritical or wrong is infuriating. They were probably frightened by the way he acted, but the generosity in their spirits probably wanted to help him. But the head of hospitality was this lovely, young woman cleaning up after a party. The base leader, probably one of the oldest guys there, was headed home-- what were they to do? I've been where they were, on a YWAM base with crazy, needy strangers looking for help--only our "visitors" weren't armed.
But you know what they're doing now? Oh man, they're singing. I can't imagine.
These things... remember the old cry, "Maranatha, Lord... come quickly."
There's this song that I love-- it's one of my favorite worship songs of all time-- called "Sing to the King." When I sing it, I feel like I'm going to just come right off the stage. "Sing to the King who is coming to reign/Glory to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain/ Life and salvation his empire shall bring/and joy to the nations when Jesus is King."
The last time I sang it, I could feel the presence of the Lord and the agreement of the congregation in such an intense way. It was unbelievable. And here's what I was thinking... when Jesus comes again, we won't have to worry about who is going to be president. We won't have to worry about youth pastors who sin against children. We won't have to worry about pastors who call themselves Bishops and then rape the flock. We won't have to worry about hurting, hurtful young men who shoot people who would have loved him. When the King comes...
But here's this: He comes to us every time we sing, when we lift our hearts in adoration of His loveliness. Like my dad, longing to hear my voice and loving it since I was a little girl, our Father in heaven longs to hear us sing to Him. And when we sing, He comes to us. His word says that He inhabits the praises of His people. God inhabits the praises of His people.
So sing. Sing a song. Make it simple to last your whole life long. Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing. Sing a song.
Come into His gates with thanksgiving.