Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday's Version of AI

The last time I attended church on a regular basis was when I was in high school and my family belonged to the neighborhood United Methodist church. That was 27 years ago.

I have been going to church since the end of October and may I just say . . . church sure has changed.

Back then, the only musical instrument was the organ, though at Christmas, the bells came out.

Today, there is an organist, pianist, guitarist, two violinists (old and young), a drummer and a bass saxophone player.

Back then, one hymn was sung before the sermon and one hymn after the sermon was over. Today, five hymns/songs are sung before the preacher says a word and a sixth song afterwards.

To be fair, I'm now attending a Baptist church and not a Methodist church, though my mom swears the Methodists do a lot of singing these days too.

I don't like singing.

I cannot hold a note nor can my mother. I know this, because we have sung many duets in the car while traveling. It is sad, what we can do to a beautiful hymn like "Amazing Grace."

I swear, 16 years ago, we were driving back to Oklahoma after visiting family in Dallas, just singing our songs like Naomi and Wynonna Judd. And as we drove past pasture after pasture, cows would look up at us in my tan Honda and tilt their heads, hearing our screeching. Horses too.

Every Sunday, at my church, there is a time reserved for "special music". I like to call it "karaoke" or "American Idol" time.

There have been some questionable solos and duets performed. I sit there in a Paula Abdul stupor, biting the inside of my cheeks and thinking of homeless puppies to try and prevent escaped giggles.

After each performance, I can't help but quote in my mind the same Randy and Simon lines: "that was a bit pitch-y" or "that was terrible".

I know. I know. They are praising God and I'm making fun. I'll have to answer to Peter at the gates, I guess. But I won't be the only one. . .

Three weeks ago, I watched, as the man in front of me, giggled quietly. His large body, shaking with uncontrolled fits while a lady attempted a song, with notes that she could no longer hit.

And last week, during the special music, the man behind me let a few laughs out . . . and he is a retired preacher with a PhD in theology. Of course, afterward he clapped the loudest and proclaimed "amen" after the man was finished with his solo. I wasn't sure the "amen" was for the singer's performance or that the singer's performance was over.

But today was different.

The special music was a mother and daughter duet. And not a young mother and daughter (they were probably around 60ish and 30ish). I quickly opened my bible where I have hidden a book that I read when I get bored. (I know. I know. I'll answer to Peter. . . but it is a religious book about financial armageddon.)

They said they were going to sing a-cappella.

Shit. (I know. I know.) Biting hard on inside of cheeks.

And they sang beautifully! They had an "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" Alison Krauss-ish style. And I got tears in my eyes. It was just beautiful!

Afterwards the whole congregation clapped widely for them and I whispered to my mom, "they got nothing on us".


Evelyn said...

Sometimes it's the simple things that move us the most. The important part is that you're back in church. (And I'm sure God is laughing at some of the off-key high notes too...)

Scale Junkie said...

Love it!

sharla*** said...

Hey, I thought I was the only one that hid a book in my bible :)

Loved this!

Hanlie said...

Very entertaining post! I've had some of my best sniggers/laughs in church!

LG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jill said...

Oh my gosh you kill me!! We actually have some pretty talented singers in our tiny church, but one Sunday a new member got up to sing, and the poor girl COULD NOT SING. Even the pianist had this look on her face like, "what is she doing???" It was sad and hilarious at the same time. When she finished there was a moment of awkward silence before people started clapping.

And THAT is why I shall never ever ever sing in church - I can't carry a tune in a bucket and would not want to subject my caterwalling to anyone!!

Hey, at least you went yesterday, which is more than I can say for some people...(me).

Lora said...

We belong to a big church so there is a lot of talent to choose from. Most often the singing is awesome. But there is this one lady....who sings in this quivering voice that sounds like she has a big ball of phlegm caught in her throat. I suppose if she was performing in Phantom of the Opera or something, it might sound okay. Maybe.

I just try to tell myself that this is God's way of refining the judgemental part in me...

When I feel like groaning I sense God saying, "Okay...YOU get up there then." Then I'm humbled. Because I sing like crap!