Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Young Man, You Should Be In the Choir

Hi there!

Dave-El here and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the blog that just wants to teach the world to sing.

By the time this posts, I will have completed my Risk Management exam which I intend to put to work never. At any rate, as my brain is likely a puddle of goo (even more so that usual), I'm jumping back into the well of my Toastmasters speech file and produce another goody from the past.

The usual insanity returns starting Thursday with a Very Special Episode of The Internet Is For Corn. (Seriously, I know it's just a blog post and not a TV show but it should be nominated for an Emmy.) This will be followed by Broken News and Doctor Who Saturday and then...whatever stupidity comes to mind.

But for the PAST! (The version posted here is actually written for presentation in a church. Somewhere out there in my hard drive is another version for outside church.)


How do church choirs get new members?

One theory goes that people show up for a church sponsored AA meeting, wind up in the choir room by mistake and the choir is so happy to see someone new, they refuse to let them go.

I’m sure that no one in our choir came to be here that way.  But I would like to share my story of how I came to join the choir.

First a little background: I started in choir at an early age, working my way from the children’s choir to the youth choir and, before I graduated from high school, I was in the adult choir. 

But from college and onward, I got out of going to church and I fell out of singing.  Then I married Andrea who was not going to church at the time but that was due to a job that had her working on Sundays.  She said early on in our marriage, “When I get a schedule that let’s me have Sundays off, we’re going to church.”

Of course, being the man of the house, I put my foot down and said, “OK.”

So anyway, we’re back in church.  We tended to sit in the same section, middle right (on the side of the organ).  And every Sunday, I would hear from Bob Fischer. 

Bob would hug Andrea, then shake my hand and say, “Young man, you need to be in the choir.”

Now, Andrea and I had been going to church for awhile and I have to admit, something felt…wrong, somehow.  I felt like maybe God was calling me to do something, something more than just show up.  And here was this man, Bob Fischer, telling me what that something more was: I should be in the choir.

I should be but I didn’t want to.

I had managed to convince myself of a number of things that kept me from taking that step.  First of all, I didn’t think of myself as a good person.  Now, does that mean I’m really some kind of super villain, ready to threaten the world with my Freeze Ray?  No, partly because I can’t figure out how to get my Freeze Ray to work.  But seriously, I mean that I didn’t see myself as being as good to my fellow man as I could be.  I may not hurt anyone (with my Freeze Ray) but I wasn’t helping anyone either.

Secondly, I didn’t see myself as good Christian.  Quite frankly, I think, like Peter on the night Jesus was arrested, if pressed on matters of my faith, that I would fold like a bad hand at a poker game that I shouldn’t be at if I were good Christian.

On top of all that, and this is going to sound weird, I don’t believe I can sing.  I know I can carry a tune in a bucket; I just believe that the bucket is rusty and full of holes. 

Being in the choir is to help lead the service. How can I participate in that leadership with all these doubts and fears, all these flaws in my character?

But every Sunday, we would sit on that side of the church and every Sunday, Bob Fischer would tell me, “Young man, you need to be in the choir.”  Each and every Sunday he would tell me this until I knew what I had to do.

I sat on the other side of the church.

That Sunday, we sat behind a different gentleman who turned and said, “Young man, you need to be in the choir.”


So to make a long story short, I joined the choir.  So I now believe I can sing?  No, I still worry that, like Barney Fife on Andy Griffith, they’re going to have me sing in the “special microphone”. 

And am I a good person now? Am I a super duper Christian all of sudden? No.  But righteousness is a path, not a destination.  Sometimes, the journey is easy. Sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes my doubts and fears rise up and I don’t think I belong.  But if I go away from the choir for awhile, God sends another angel to tell me, “David, you need to be in the choir.”

As our pastor has preached before, perfect people are not allowed.  You can’t wait until you’re ready, until you’re good enough.

I remember the first Sunday I stood up in that choir loft, in that robe and realized that I may not as good as I should be but it felt right.  After the service, I sought out Bob Fischer and shook his hand.  “I’m in the choir now,” I said.  “I know,” he said with a smile.  It was not long after that God called him home.

You may think that you’re not ready to serve, that you’re not good enough.  But God smiles upon you and says, “I know; serve me anyway.” 


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