Dan Allen, View from the Front Porch
On the way out of the village church, a grandmother stopped me to ask if I would pray for her and her adult daughter. It is very common for some of the church folks, especially in a village and older women, to ask the pastor to pray over them after a service. They line up in the front of the church. I lightly lay my hand on their head or shoulder and ask God that they will become a true follower of Jesus and for Him to use and bless them. This I did with her.
After doing this she said in quite good English – “Do you know this song?” and started singing: “Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, / consider all the works Thy Hand hath made / I see the stars,” and then I could see she was fumbling for the words. So, I quietly joined her to help — “I hear,” and it took me a second to remember the next phrase — “the mighty thunder, /Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed.” And now we were on a roll singing the chorus together: “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee, / How great Thou art! How great Thou art! / Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, / How great Thou art! How great Thou art!”
I sang a duet with an older, native woman and we both knew what we were singing. In fact, I told her if I ever come back to her church, we’re singing a duet in front of the congregation. After I got into the vehicle, she walked over to my opened window and asked when I was coming back.
The chances of that happening are slim to nil. Not that I’d stay away on purpose, but it’s not like I’m within driving distance from her church. I live on the other side of the world. And when I come back, and if it is to this same area, there’s a good chance my handlers will take me to another church to meet some other worshipers.
When it comes to singing, I am most impressed with the excitement and gusto with which the folks sing, especially in the village. They put all their might into it, clapping and singing at the top of their lungs. Back in the U.S., it’s like pulling teeth to get people to even open their mouths to sing — most mumble along. Not here. It could be they sing loud because the song leaders have the microphones turned up really loud while swallowing the mic.
At this lady’s church, they had a keyboard player who was very good. In fact, when a lady got up to sing a solo in English (it might have been the same gal) the keyboardist was able to pick out the melody. No small challenge. I remember one time a guy was singing while swallowing the mic and the keyboardist tried, but failed, to find a melody to the song the gentleman had written. The cows all started leaving the area.
Back to this service today, they had a drummer with a full set of drums and one broken cymbal. No matter, he played as if he wanted everyone in the village to hear him. He was quite good, and I was thankful that my hearing aides are removable.
I didn’t understand anything they were singing. When they threw in a “Hallelujah” every now and then, I’d catch it, but by then I’m a note or two behind.
This is a little taste of Heaven when we will sing alongside of the “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9). Although we cannot understand each other on this side of Glory, there we will not only understand but will sing together praises to God. What fun that will be! Will you be in that choir?
Until the nets are filled ....
Dan Allen is the former director of Pinebrook Bible Conference. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.