What does it take to stand before hundreds of people (even if they are the “August committed”) and share family stories … in a language that is not your first language? Yoon Nam, recalled for us her childhood memories of seeing her mother pull a small hymnbook from a drawer and “singing seriously.” This is such an interesting phrase. I wondered what made a 7 or 8 year old child recall her mother’s singing as serious. Did she cry? Was she afraid? Did she sing loudly? Was she holding herhandto her heart?
I don’t know. Yoon didn’t say. But she remembered it. And it was the beginning of the story which Yoon is still living after her mother “introduced Jesus to her.” This is an interesting expression, too. In the US, we bring people to Christ or we tell them they should “know Jesus.” I like the Korean way: her Mom brought Christ to her, beginning with a hymn in a drawer.
Now, my mind takes me on a field trip here…can’t you just hear How Great Thou Artbreaking out every time Mom opened that drawer? Kind of like those annoying greeting cards with music inside.
(Warning: Do NOT buy the graduation cards. No one should be subjected to repeated renditions of Pomp and Circumstance.)
Sorry. I’m back now. It is interesting, too, that Yoon’s mother used a hymnbook to remember the words. Themelodywas probably already a part of her. She sangin her own language and God heard her, knew her and responded with an invitation: “come back to me.” That must have been quite a drawer!
Yoon’s story reminds me of myembarrassmentstanding next to my own mother in church services. She sang the hymns so loud and so beautifully that people looked at us. AT us! This is death for a tween. But Mom didn’t stop there. She sang the national anthem at public sporting events. In her church voice! She insisted it was not proper to clap at the end because it’s like a hymn. We don’t sing it for praise, we sing it back as praise.
Why do we sing? Why do we make music? Why do we worship? Why do we offer praise? Why do we do it together? Rev. Tom suggested it is about enculturation. I was pretty sure he invented this word so I looked it up on dictionary.com.
enculturation: enculturation /nkltren/ [en-kuhl-chuh–rey-shuhn]noun – the process whereby individuals learn their group’s culture, through experience, observation, and instruction.
Now when I think about culture, I think about race and language and habits. But worship reframes this. Tom suggests that worship brings together people with the same longing at the center. Christians place the beauty and truth and goodness of Christ at the center. It’s what we long for together.Why do we sing? Why do we worship? Because it’s beautiful music we sing back to the One at our center. In everylanguage, but withthe same melody. A joyful noise to the Lord.
Tom reminded us “We are the children of God.” Then, pointing out the door, he said “So are they. They just don’t know it yet.”Maybe if we sing just a bit louder. Sorry in advance kids for anyembarrassmentthis causes. This is serious singing.