The praise band began to play. The singers began to sing. I got back to my seat and joined in. I felt the music deep in my heart. My soul was being renewed and lifted up. Then, from behind me I heard the noise. We had just finished our greeting time and people were still making their way to greet a friend. Others were still in the midst of a brief conversation. The noise of the people chattering was behind me while the music of the band was in front of me — and it just made me… smile.
Maybe your reaction would be different. Some people don’t like their time of singing and worship disturbed by “noisy Christians”. Not me. Well, I say not me and yet even that day I was tempted to let a feeling of condemnation and anger well up inside me. Part of me does wish people were not disturbing my spiritual moment. So I was glad when I chose to enjoy the noise rather than despise it.
You see, as I listened to the chatter (while also singing with the music) I heard laughter. I heard the noise of friends who had come together in the same room to worship the God whose love they long to know and share. It was the sound of love, not the sound of disturbance. It was the sound of a church where community and the love of brothers and sisters is embraced and celebrated. It was the sound of worship as it often happens at Asbury United Methodist Church. And it made me smile.
The “noise” didn’t carry on for long. As the band moved further into the song the chatter died down and more voices began to sing. We don’t just talk and visit throughout the whole time of worship, but for a few minutes we might. It’s part of who we are and part of the way God’s Spirit moves in this place.
I serve a church where children who fuss are welcomed. I serve a church where young children are smiled at and cared for by people they know mostly because they see them on Sundays. There is a love to be found in this place that is precious, but I hope it is not rare. It is not the love of good people, it is the love of God’s people. And when God’s people make noise because of the love they have for each other, well, that’s music to my ears.
Holy high-five to you,