After worship last Sunday, I stopped to talk with a family with four darling little girls. The mom told me a cute story.
Every week, I post the songs we are planning to sing on Facebook as well as on our worship page. The reason for this is simple: I want our people to be ready to sing during corporate worship. I did not know this, but every week this family full of little girls “practices” the songs before coming to worship on Sunday morning (good job, Mama!). But one of the songs escaped their practice session this week. When the band played this song during the worship service, the oldest of the little girls looked at her mom and said, “We didn’t practice this one!”
What. A. Bummer.
This is the exact reason I post the songs ahead of time. I love the idea of a family preparing to join with their local faith family to sing loudly to the God who made them! And I know God loves that idea, too.
In Matthew 21:12–16, the disciple describes a fascinating and convicting scene. Immediately after Jesus cleansed the temple and rebuked the “religious” merchants, He began healing the lame. In response, children in the temple starting crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The defensive and self-righteous chief priests and scribes rebuked the children, incredulously asking Jesus, “Do you hear what these are saying?”
Immediately, Scripture popped into Jesus’ mind and flowed out of His mouth. He quoted Psalm 8:2, saying, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise?'”
The chief priests and scribes had missed it. And the little children had nailed it. The kids recognized the Messiah and the grown-ups did not. The little ones praised while the adults doubted and seethed. So typical.
Without a doubt, my favorite sight from the stage when I’m leading worship is when little children sing with all their might and with their hands raised, presumably just like Mama or Daddy taught them. It often takes all my strength in those moments not to burst into tears and rebuke the stone-faced adults spread throughout the room. No doubt, the children do not fully understand the words they are singing or the intricate theological concepts we study and teach. But I believe, in many of those moments, that they know what’s most important: we sing because God loves us.
My wife found this cool piggy bank for our son, Wesley James, a while ago. It has three compartments, labeled “Spend,” “Save,” and “Give.” One night a few weeks ago, we gathered $5 in coins to teach him about saving and giving. The goal was to show him he can spend 80%, save 10%, and (most importantly) give 10% to God via the church. After we separated the money, he started putting the coins in the bank. At one point, he started to put extras in the “Give” section. I told him he didn’t have to, because he already put 10% in first. He said, “But I want to give more to Jesus because Jesus loves us.” My eyes welled up with tears because . . .
. . . He gets what I so often don’t.
That sweet little girl I talked to on Sunday gets what I so often don’t.
We sing, we give, we praise because God loves us.
Let’s commit together never to let ouselves get too old, important, dignified, or (God forbid) self-righteous to passionately praise our God in the public gathering of the saints.
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”