Off key and beautiful

Gary called the other day to tell me that a mutual friend, Don, had died. He was one of the most passionate people I knew when it came to following Jesus. Almost every Sunday he would be at the altar weeping and having some kind of wonderful conversation or experience with God. Every Sunday he would have the same wonderful fellowship with God in choir, too.

Don loved singing in the choir even though he could not sing. In choir, Don’s voice was part of something bigger than himself. When Don’s voice was combined with all of our voices, he wasn’t drowned out, he simply sounded better. Don needed the choir and the choir needed him. We would have sounded okay without him, but we would have been missing that “something special.”

That’s how I think of worship and why it is so important that we all gather together. My individual voice may be worship, but it is meager at best. Combine my limited abilities with yours and others, we become something better and more beautiful.

Worship is gathering together and giving what we have to God and each other. Worship is all of our voices regardless of pitch or tone making something wonderful and beautiful. When I sang next to Don his passion wore off on me. It fed me and encouraged me. When I was low on energy and less than enthusiastic, Don’s presence would fill me up and help me.

My friend Steve said, “Any choir would be blessed to have Don as a member.”

It’s true. We were better. And Sunday worship is better with you in it. It’s better even if you’re off key or your neighbor is off key.

If Don left the choir, it would be diminished, not improved.

If you leave church, worship is diminished not improved.

We need each other for worship to be worship. I need you to sit next to me and encourage me when I am down. I need you to help me when I can’t find the melody on my own. I need you. You need us. We need each other.

That is why worship is so important. It teaches us interdependence. That’s why I stick around. Because the church as a whole makes each of us better than we would ever be by ourselves.

I will miss his voice, his tears of joy, and his passion.

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