Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Truly Joyful Noise


I’ve heard the joke for many years: “As lonely as the third verse in a Baptist Hymnal.” I also heard:  “I haven’t heard that verse.” “That’s because you go to a Baptist church.”

Actually, I do – and have for the majority of my life. I have visited other churches and find that they also omit a verse or two along the way – though I’ve never heard why. In the more modern churches with screens and choruses, that’s probably never noticed.

It was Wednesday night when our song leader took us through three songs, all their verses – and I loved it. I hope we continue to include all the verses as we sing. They all have stories to tell and omitting a song’s verse is similar to omitting a biblical verse – part of the story is missing.

As long-time readers know, one of my favorite hymnists is Fanny Crosby, another is John Newton. I wonder how many who sing Amazing Grace know that the final verse in most hymnals:

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise,
Than when we first begun

. . . which I consider to be an awesome ending, so uplifting, was not added until 1790 and the author is unknown.

Go ahead and look up the biographies for these two blessed authors and learn how God worked in their lives as well as how they shared their faith. Look into the background of your favorite songs – find the who/what/when/how/ and why they were written along with why they remain in our lives. That’s part of their history.

It would do us all well to remember Mahalia Jackson’s quote regarding gospel songs:
Those songs come out of conviction and suffering. The worst voices can get through singing them 'cause they're telling their experiences.
Which brings me to today’s Bible verses. I’ve often used:

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: (Psalms 66:1 KJV)

. . . mostly because I can’t sing on key and the most I can do is make a joyful noise. But that whole Psalm is a song and the first verse would not be complete without the whole, including the last verses:

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me. (Psalms 66:16-20 KJV)

That’s what I hope to do here each day – tell what God has done for my soul, how He hears my prayers, and how He has not turned away from me. Oh, to truly share that joy!!

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