So an interesting thing happened to me on Wednesday night.
I sang in choir at church for the first time in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love music. It is a big part of our house and I love the sound of harmonies and melodies seamlessly coming together to make beautiful music. But I’m most comfortable being the guy singing from my pew, not in the choir loft.
My church has an amazing choir and an orchestra; they lift up the name of Jesus each Sunday morning and bring the corporate worship experience to life.
Although I enjoy singing and can carry a tune, I probably won’t be doing any solo work in the near future. In my mind I’m not as good as Frank Sinatra, but better than Axl Rose.
But I was asked by a couple of the music staff through texts and letters if my wife and I would come sing just until the Easter musical.
So with more than a little trepidation, I walked into the choir room for the first time in my life.
What happened next was comical.
Are you bass or tenor?
A nice lady named Barbie took me to get the three different music books they were singing from.
The following exchange took place:
Barbie: What do you sing, tenor or bass?
Me: Uh, I’m not sure.
Barbie: Well, do you sing low or high?
Me: Low, definitely low.
Barbie: Okay, you’re a bass and you can sit right over there.
Keep in mind, choir practice had already begun, so about 75 people were already singing and all staring intently at this new interloper who dropped in.
I shook hands with a couple of the other manly basses and sat down in front of a tugboat.
Well, not literally, but this guy had the most resonant and beautifully deep voice I have ever heard. He sounded like the foghorn on a boat or at least a tuba or something.
Turn to page 32, measure 4, watch me
I opened my book to the page of the guy next to me and tried to remember how to read music from 20 years ago when I played trumpet in middle school. I felt like there were a lot more notes now than there used to be.
All the while, the tugboat was bellowing out the richest harmonies in the lowest range I’ve heard since that guy from the Oak Ridge Boys sang “oom-papa-mow-mow.”
Make a joyful noise
I remembered from band that my teacher, Mrs. Pendergrass, said that if you are going to make a mistake, make it a big one.
Armed with that confidence, I jumped in the fray. God said make a joyful noise, so I did my best to locate the bass notes on the music and tried not to distract the other guys around me.
I did pretty well, (of course I’m certain no one could really hear me because of the tugboat.)
I practiced out of my comfort zone for almost an hour and fifteen minutes. We bounced from song to song and book to book and part to part.
Altogether, it sounded lovely. I didn’t make a big enough mistake to stand out. I just sang for Jesus.
Sharp or flat, you can still fit in
I don’t remember a lot about music, but I know that certain times the arrangement calls for a note to be sharp or flat. On their own, these notes can sound a little off. However, in the context of the music, they stand out and shine and make it sound just the way the composer intended.
The same could be said of us. You and I can come across as sharp or flat to other people. We all have off days. We all have different personalities and quirks.
But God made each of us different for a reason. He made each of us to play a part in his heavenly choir.
I didn’t judge the tugboat behind me, I just listened to the beautiful rich voice that God blessed him with. I didn’t worry too much if I was off on one of my notes, I just adjusted and kept singing.
For me, it was enough to know that I was helping out my church and making a joyful noise to my Savior.
Perhaps you will have a chance this week to step out of your comfort zone and into worship with God. I would encourage you to do so. It is a wonderful feeling.