Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Psalm 96:1
Many years ago, when my church celebrated Christian Education Sunday, I remember speaking about the many blessings of teaching in a Christian school. At that time I had started my career teaching third grade at the elementary school so I spoke about one particular highlight of standing at the copy machine or walking through the halls listening to the praise and worship songs being sung in classrooms throughout the day. To hear innocent voices singing praises to our God often made me stop and pause. Goosebumps often ran down my spine.
Fast forward to my teaching career at the middle school where it isn’t always so cool to sing praises to our God. In chapel, I urge my homeroom to sing (they don’t) but they often fear what their classmate next to them might be thinking. Despite the voice cracks, trouble singing a possibly unfamiliar song, or worse, appearing to thoroughly enjoy worshipping God with our voices is embarrassing at this age. And to make matters worse for my eighth grade homeroom, we are learning to sing songs in another language!
A few weeks ago when we sang in Spanish I did my absolute best to remember what I learned from high school Spanish. After the song I leaned over to one of our students who speaks Spanish and asked how I did. He paused, chuckled a little, and said “Maybe you’ll get better Mrs. Botbyl.” Probably not, Ryan, probably not, but I am not overly worried about it because I know God is more concerned with my attitude and heart towards singing these worship songs than my perfect pitch or rolling of my r’s.
On Wednesday afternoons I have flashbacks that bring me back to teaching at the elementary school; with the addition to the fourth graders at the Wyckoff Campus and my job to include teaching STEAM to fourth to eighth graders I get to assist Rob Flim in the weekly fourth grade chorus rehearsals. Once a week I listen to the voices I loved so much over fifteen years ago sing their hearts out. They don’t have a care in the world about if they messed up the words, or joined in at the wrong time and don’t have any pitch at all. The students are singing, clapping, stomping and humming their hearts out! Their words praise our Maker and Creator for all things big and small that He has made. Last week, Mr. Flim had them perform a song they had mastered the previous year with words and sign language; not only did I get goosebumps, I nearly cried! There was no awkwardness as they “sang” only a heart full of joy as they worshipped their Jesus in this way.
May the songs of our hearts always be bursting with the youth-like innocent of our fourth graders!