This is a young lady from a very small village in Haiti. I was so moved and inspired by her that I had to turn on my camera. I didn’t want to cause a disturbance, so I just recorded from my lap, with the lens turned her direction from underneath my arm. It was a beautiful moment to see her Praising God without inhibition. To this day I still feel like I learned so much in those precious few minutes. On the outside, the music and instruments were far from perfect. But, on the inside! I can only imagine it must have been the most beautiful sound in all the world to Jesus. As most of you know, writing about Haiti, even a year later, has been next to impossible for me. I just haven’t been able to bring myself anywhere near those feelings and emotions. Maybe because I’m scared of them? I don’t know. But, I read this quote the other day from one of my favorite childhood authors, and it’s really given me pause. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” — Louis L’Amour I live in America, more specifically in the heartland, north of the Bible Belt, where sometimes the praise of God can seem more akin to a can of Spam rather than the juicy, grilled filet mignon that I read it to be in the scripture. There is such contrast between a human being in love with the notion and the window-dressing of Christianity and one who is simply given over to Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, who really believes in the King of Kings, that He saves us, that He loves us, that He desires so much for us. In our churches today there is this amazing phenomenon where instead of praising God with all of our heart and soul, the sound booth perfectly queues up a taped recording of someone else, doing that for us. We see kids marched up to the front for the latest program, or adults ‘leading’ us in worship. We hear outstanding musical numbers, full orchestras, with these invisible voices of other choirs and kids who are singing angelically in tune. They are excited and jubilant and really quite remarkable as the sound is pumped beautifully through the loudspeakers. Meanwhile, here in real time, our lips are barely moving. Something resembling a dying chicken is being emitted from our throats, a whispered, almost audible tone coming from our lungs, and we serve this up to our Creator….as praise. Right now it’s mostly the children’s programs and the special music, but how long until it’s just the way we worship? Those kids grow up, and they teach their kids, right? How long until worship dies, and how soon will the church that is built upon those masks die with it?
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy”