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Singing God’s song to each other

Singing God’s song to each other

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Our oldest daughter spent July at a “ballet intensive” in Mississippi, which is basically a camp for young women who want to become better dancers. On the final night of the intensive, the dancers’ parents attend a performance designed to showcase everything the girls learned over the course of the month. Like every parent there, we secretly felt that our daughter was the best dancer on the stage.

Something happened during the evening, though, that stayed on my mind for several days after the performance was over. While one of the other groups was dancing, their music stopped playing, right in the middle of their dance. Technical problems. Without hesitation, the girls continued to dance in silence, just as they had been trained.

But they only danced without music for about five seconds. No, the sound system didn’t come back on for them. What happened was that a group of their fellow dancers began to sing the music from where they were sitting in the back of the auditorium. Then the dancers waiting to perform backstage began to sing from the wings. Their fellow dancers could have left them stranded in silence, but instead they sang the rest of the song for them a cappella, all the way to the end. And of course that particular performance got the loudest ovation of the evening.

The show must go on, they say, which is what the emcee told us when he got back onstage. If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that the show must go on.

But more than that truism, I kept thinking about times I’ve lost my own song — when the music of God’s love, grace, truth, strength and kindness was hard to hear. During those times, I’ve been grateful for people who sang the song for me when it seemed to go silent. Most often it’s been friends, family or members of my church, who spoke truth into the silence. And sometimes it’s been strangers: authors, musicians, artists that I don’t know personally, but who managed to sing the song I needed to hear at just the right moment. They eased the pain and awkwardness of the silence by singing as well as they could.

There’s a powerful verse in the book of Ephesians, in which the apostle Paul tells us to “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” In other words, he says that when we are singing praises to God, we are actually speaking to each other at the same time. When we sing about God, we remind one another what is true about him, which is that he loves us and wants to know us. We remind one another that he is faithful and good to us, even when the challenges of life make it hard to remember. God’s people are called to sing his song to each other, whether we use literal music or just our words. Everybody goes through times when God’s song seems silent. During those times, God’s people can keep singing the song for those who are struggling to hear it. “God is here, God is good, God is strong,” we sing, so that those who need the music can finish their dance.

Sometimes you’re the one singing for somebody else. Sometimes they’re singing for you. Either way, that’s what God’s people do for each other. We don’t leave each other stranded in the silence. Instead, we sing God’s song for each other, all the way to the end of the dance.

Matt Morton is the teaching pastor at the Creekside Campus of Grace Bible Church in College Station.

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