We were late again, not unusual for our family of six. Dad found a parking space in the crowded church lot and we four kids tried to make ourselves look presentable after having slept for the last hour and a half on the drive up. Even before we made it all the way inside, we could hear one particular voice rising above the rest as the congregation sang…we smiled at each other. We knew that voice well. The sound of it may cause you to make a strange face, but the sincerity in it would make you stop.
We walked into the sanctuary, hoping the back row would be open so we could slip in. It was. When the song was over, Grandma June (who always sat in the very front) glanced back, saw us and beamed. She gathered her belongings (the hundred pound purse, her Bible and the many tissues) and proudly walked back to sit with us. The next song would begin and her voice would again loudly send forth praises to her Savior.
This scene plays in my mind as one of my favorite childhood memories. What warm feelings I have of visiting that church, of seeing Grandma June smile at us; knowing we were there to worship with her. My fondest memory of Grandma is one of sound. Her loud, off key singing was glorious. An odd thing to say, I know, but so true. If God would allow me to relive this experience once more I would love to hear her sing “How Great Thou Art” at the top of her lungs as she raised her arms to heaven and tears rolled down her cheeks.
If you have been reading my series of writings this month you have already read of Grandma June’s contagious joy and her fervent love of God’s Word. However, I cannot allow you to think you have a good picture of Grandma June in your mind unless you have been told about her legendary singing. My brother Aaron once said that what Grandma lacked in quality she made up for in volume. My Uncle John, her youngest son, recently expressed it this way, “Mom sang with great vigor, although she had problems with ‘carrying a tune.’"
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” Psalm 100:1 was the very verse that Grandma June often quoted regarding her singing. It doesn’t say to make a perfectly pitched tone, to harmonize, to hit the high notes or even to make a beautiful noise. It says a joyful noise. And that is what Grandma June did. She didn’t just sing with all of her heart she worshiped with all of her heart.
Here are a few brief points I want you to learn as I did from Grandma June’s example of worshiping in song:
However, don’t stay silent for long. Not singing out to God can be a display of a prideful heart or one that isn’t truly owned by him. Those who truly love God cannot help but to proclaim his greatness and worship him. Luke 19:37-40, “the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
No stone will take my place in praising my savior; I know Grandma June would heartily agree.