It was a Sunday morning about four weeks ago and I was at church. As usual it was busy and bustling. Children everywhere, good coffee and lots of conversations.
As the service began, I was feeling a little sad because my voice was not up to singing that day. Too many meetings and speaking engagements the week before along with a tired body conspired against me joining in with my favourite worship songs. Herrumph! I love sung worship.... this is the vein in which my conversation with God went as the congregation began to sing.
I'm quite accustomed to this happening; although my speaking voice works, tiredness does often affect my ability to sing (painful for someone who is a trained singer). But on this day - I was really feeling it.
But then, I stopped and I listened.
I could hear a child's voice singing loudly, boldly, enthusiastically. Out of tune but still glorious to hear.
Being a bit of a nosey so and so, I wanted to know who it was… and because I wanted to encourage them…!
I couldn't turn around far, but as I moved as far as I could, I realised it was more than one child's voice singing. Boys as well as girls, children from all sorts of back grounds.
It was an old hymn at that point - poetic words in a strange language, especially for the children who are fostered by a couple of our families - but even they were singing - loudly, intently.
And so it went on - a modern song next, also with strange words, and I heard a mother bend down and explain the words to her child. Simple words carrying great meaning.
If I'd been singing, I'd have missed this blessing.
And then God spoke. I'm not given to have pictures very often, and I do tend to test them harshly. (The reason I've taken a few weeks to write and post this!) But the infrequency of them tends to make me sit up and take note.
I was still feeling a little raw at my inability to sing - I wanted to worship. But I saw Jesus with His hand on my shoulder - singing. His other hand raised to God…. Jesus - Was Singing! And with this picture came the words - "It's ok, I've got this". Singing by proxy!
The children all left to go to their clubs - pouring out in a tumbling mass of excitement, as they do every Sunday, and the church felt bereft of their childlike enthusiasm.
Then the sermon - I often soak these up like a sponge. With so much giving out, this is one of my life line refuelling stops. But one sentence, out of sync with everything else jumped out. I can't remember the exact words, but our Pastor talked about speaking praise out loud. The importance of proclaiming who God is with your voice.
In my mind I started that conversation with God again… and I didn’t get very far.
Me: "But God……."
God: "Remember. I've . Got . This!"
That's me told then.
But It's true. God has this - the praise of children, the wordless praise of me, the spoken praise that is so important.
I'm going to give the final word to the Psalmist from one of my many favourite Psalms.
Psalm 8.2 (Easy to Read Version)
From the mouths of children and babies come songs of praise to you. They sing of your power to silence your enemies who were seeking revenge.