I am plagued with a stiffness in public singing, mainly public worship. It is not from lack of exposure to other options. I have spent enough time around spirit-filled charismatics and my friends in the Black Church to know what is possible. I just wonder if it is possible for me. On Sunday mornings I look around and realize that I am not probably alone in my paralysis.
I wonder if I was told along the way that the freedom of expression in worship was dangerous, or at least distracting to those around me. Maybe it was when I was a kid cutting up in Church. Maybe I sang too loud on one verse or clapped during a slow song, only to be scolded by a well-meaning adult out to keep the peace.
If you watch the children on a Sunday morning during worship at the Gathering, you will see some of what I mean. Left to their own imaginations, it is common to see one or two wander out into the aisle and tap out a clumsy rhythm. Or maybe it is the little voices that yell in affirmation when a song was particularly powerful, while the rest of us cross our hands in our lap and wait to be told what to do next. These kids seem out of control, but perhaps that is the point.
I can't help but think that all those kids are on to something I may have forgotten. There is a foolish abandon within kids that leaks out in our public spaces we have worked hard to order and contain. And it reminds me that there is freedom in letting go.
Jesus said, "From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise."
So friends, may we find our feet and arms and lips and hips in tune with the foolish abandon of those little prophets in our midst as they lead us in praise to the Lord.