One week ago today, I enjoyed spending a beautiful, fall day hiking with family and friends. Talking and laughing, we reveled in the fresh air and sunshine. The air began to cool as we reached the end of our hike. Rounding a bend, we came upon an abandoned ammunition storage bunker. Wisely, the door had been left open to reduce unsatisfied curiosity.
We entered the bunker, a large, round, concrete room, it’s domed ceiling completely buried in the surrounding hill. The first word spoken echo-bounced around the room. We all joined in hollering and making all sorts of strange and wild noises, enjoying the booming sound. Someone suddenly said, “Guys, we have to sing in here!”
And so we did. With our two dogs watching with rapt attention, four couples, three young and one more seasoned, lifted our voices in praise and worship to our Father! We let our voices lift without restraint. Strong male voices leading and lifting, clear female tones echoing. Joining in melody, completing with harmony, we let it all out. No audience but Him. No critic or censor, no restraint of convention or tradition.
The sound lifted higher and higher, filling the room, the sound flowing out of the open door and down the trail. We sang hallelujahs to the Lord. We sang about the sweet sound of amazing grace. We sang our plea for Him to abide with us, even as the day faded into night.
Then some … stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. 2 Chronicles 20:19 NIV.
Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; Psalm 66:8 NIV
The last time you sang your praise, did you do it with your chin buried in a hymnbook, hoping that your voice would be drowned out by those around you? Did I mumble the words out of habit, letting the meaning slip through my ears, not stopping in my mind to register?
If someone heard my voice, would they believe that the sweet sound of grace is truly amazing? Would they really trust that my heart knew one thing, that Jesus loves me? Or does my lack of enthusiasm and passion tell a different story, one that contradicts my words?
Whether a dark and dusty bunker or a soaring cathedral shot with sunlight,
Whether eight voices or eight hundred,
Whether voices perfectly modulated and pitched or throats straining to reach unfamiliar notes,
Whether the simple melody of a praise song or the swirling melody of a traditional hymn,
Lift your face heavenward,
Lift your voice,
Lift it long and loud,
Pour your heart as a living offering,
Through the sound of your voice.