"Your solemn processions are seen, O God…the singers in front, the musicians last, between them girls playing tambourines." from Psalm 68:24-3
As a girl, whenever I sang in church choirs, my father always felt obliged to tell me, "You know I can't carry a tune in a bucket."
Then he would say, "When I was a little boy, I was invited out of the church choir. First they invited me in, and then they invited me out." He would laugh, but he told me this story often enough for me to know it mattered to him. He would say that it freed him up to spend more time playing "kick the can," but it had to have hurt at the time.
I think his church choir director confused worship with a concert. In her quest for perfection, she left in her wake a little boy who grew up to be a man afraid to open his mouth and sing.
In the psalms, we often hear about music. Sometimes the processions are solemn, sometimes they are joyful, but clearly, our music matters to God.
When the Angel Choir of four to six year olds sings at our church, let me tell you, it is not a solemn procession. Amped up on donuts and the thrill of the moment, they wiggle and squirm on the steps at the front of the church. They sing their little hearts out, many of them in tune. They bring delight to everyone in worship, including God. They may not all be musical geniuses but they are learning that their voices matter to the one who created them.
Dear God, remind me that I do not have to be a concert musician to have my voice be beautiful to you. Amen.
Lillian Daniel, author of When "Spiritual But Not Religious" is Not Enough, has a chapter in the upcoming anthology, What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most. Follow her on twitter @lillianfdaniel.