Friday, September 26, 2008

The Joyful Chorus: Fiction Friday


Welcome to Fiction Friday! This week Joanne is hosting at An Open Book--that's where you'll find Mr. Linky. See ya there!



The Joyful Chorus

I am a croaker. Ok, so maybe I don't quite croak, but I am a charter member of the Joyful Chorus, as we call ourselves. To be one of us you cannot sing in tune, but you have to love--and I do mean love--singing. We're the people you see hanging around the choir, but never in the choir.

Thankfully, our church is large enough to have a wonderful choir and still have lots of people in the congregation to camouflage our bad voices. I am so glad for that because it means that I get to really sing. One of the few times I feel free to sing loud, so I do.

“Kelly, why aren't you up there singing with them?” one of our senior men asked one night as choir practice ended.

I smiled. “Because when you're a member of the Joyful Chorus you can't be in choir.”

His brow wrinkled some more. “The Joyful Chorus?”

“Yes, as in 'Make a joyful noise unto the Lord',” * I said, winking at him.

I could tell the moment he understood what I was saying because his eyes lit with merriment. “And here I thought you had a beautiful soprano voice.”

Soprano? No way! When I get to heaven I'm going to have one of those velvety, rich alto voices and I'm really gonna belt it out then. Man, I can't wait! But what I said to that dear man was, “Oh no, when I get to heaven I'm going to sing alto.” I was very demure and I smiled prettily for him—maybe that's why he thought I sing soprano, because he only sees the polished outside me and not my wild, sassy side.

Later that evening, during the service, my heart filled as we sang one worship song after another and I felt like I'd been set free after a week of solitary confinement. I'd kept up with my daily Bible reading and time with God, and it was wonderful, but this--this was better than a hot fudge sundae could ever hope to be. My soul craved this time of worshiping with my brothers and sisters, being able to sing out to God, and to actually sound good while singing.

Without interrupting the flow, the musicians moved into “How Great Is Our God”** and I could feel it moving into me, lifting me higher and threatening to burst out of me. Lord, I can't wait to sing praises to you in heaven. If worship is this good here, what's it gonna be like singing with that great crowd of believers? And the angels, Lord—I'm gonna get to sing with the angels. I can't imagine how good it's gonna be. Thank You, Father... My heart overflowed.

“...Age to age he stands
And time is in His Hands
Beginning and the End,
Beginning and the End
The Godhead, Three in one
Father, Spirit, Son
The Lion and the Lamb,
The Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
all will see
How great, How great
Is our God.”**


As the music built one voice soared above the congregation—Elijah's. Elijah is happiest when he's singing and I didn't have to turn around and look to know that he, too, was caught up in worship--I could tell by the joy flowing through his voice. His clear tenor took the high road as we sang the melody. I'm not one to usually get goose-bumps in church, but I had them at that moment. The truth of what we were singing flooded me, lifting me higher than I'd ever been.

Father, God, I prayed at the end of the song, thank You for allowing me to be here, worshiping with my brothers and sisters. Heaven will be incredible. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the older man I'd talked to at the end of choir practice. And Lord, thank You for blessing Elijah with the voice You have. What he added to that song was beautiful. Do you think I could sing tenor like Elijah sometimes? Until then, Lord, I'll be in the Joyful Chorus, enjoying every chance I get to sing, even if it's only joyful sounding.


* Psalm 100:1
** “How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin
~~~~~~~~~~

This story is now a tribute to Gary Menees, who died late this spring, many months after I wrote this. During Christmas choir practice one night, he asked me this question and thought I would sing soprano. Unfortunately, I didn't think to tell him that I was part of the Joyful Chorus--he would've gotten a kick out of it. Also, for this story, I made him into a much older man, but in reality he wasn't. He might have been 64 or 65. We miss him greatly!

Also since writing this, Elijah has married and moved, so I only get to sing tenor when Nathan or Mark are belting it out, which they do occasionally. But that's okay because when we get to heaven, I'll get my new singing voice and I can't wait to use it! Gary and I just might sing a duet sometime.

Don't forget to join us at An Open Book links to some great fiction!


PS--Next week Betsy is hosting over at Just Another Clay Pot.

9 comments:

  1. Ah, Peej...beautiful!
    "When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be!"
    I can't wait until we will all sing together.

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  2. Wonderful! I used to belong to a church that had a full orchestra and huge choir. I played in neither of those, but I was a member of the handbell choir which played occasionally. So when we got to attend practice, it was heavenly. We sat surrounded in music, bathed in it, swimming in it, able to feel it as well as hear it. And I would close my eyes sometimes and think, "What will it be like in Heaven?"

    Thanks for making me think that lovely thought again.

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  3. Can I sing too? This was beautiful, and you made me cry with your tribute at the end. I can't wait for Heaven.

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  4. I really enjoyed this. I think Christian writers who write fiction have an advantage because we see glimpses of the unseen. I identify with the croaker, and I'm soooooo glad it says, "Make a joyful noise," not make a perfect melody! :)

    I think friday's are gonna become a favorite for me. I'm glad to have found fiction friday!

    blessings
    sheila

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  5. I too am a member of the Joyful Chorus! And what I've discovered is that my joyful noise is not hard on the ears of either my Father or my daughter, so I can sing loud and proud to them! :)

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  6. Love this, Peej! It's beautiful and wonderful to think of the kind of music we'll all sing in heaven...wow!

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  7. Remember - and LOVE - this one. I was absolutely blessed to read this, and your note at the end made it even more poignant. Awesome, darlin!

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  8. This was such a sweet piece, and the tribute at the end was extra touching. Can you imagine the heavenly choir? So excited!

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  9. I have a dear friend who is part of the joyful chorus. She thinks she is a croaker. But God has a wonderful joyful sense of humor. Her mother named her Rena which in the Hebrew means joyful song!

    I like to think it is prophetic and that someday she will have her heart's desire - to sing in the heavenly choir.

    Wonderful story Peej!

    ReplyDelete

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