'Make a joyful noise'
By Andrew Schroer
Dec. 1, 2017 at 5 p.m.
I have a friend who went to Game Five. If you're not a sports fan, you might not know what that means.
Game Five of this year's World Series was arguably the most exciting World Series game ever played. The Houston Astros won the game 13-12 in 10 innings on their way to capturing their first World Series title.
They say the crowd was electric. My friend said at times it was deafening. He told me he can still hear the sound of the 41,000 screaming fans echoing in his ears. It was an experience he will never forget.
The Apostle John had a similar experience nearly 2,000 years ago. God allowed him to glimpse the glory of heaven. There he saw millions of people praising God in a loud voice. He said it sounded like "the roar of a great multitude . like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder" (Revelation 19:1,6).
The screaming fans gave my friend goosebumps. Imagine millions of believers celebrating the victory of heaven. Because of Jesus and the forgiveness he won for you, one day you won't have to imagine it. You will see it with your own eyes.
But you don't have to wait until heaven to join the celebration. Every time we worship in church, we blend our voices with the roaring crowds of heaven celebrating the victory Jesus won for us.
The problem is sometimes we don't join in. We don't open our mouths. We don't sing. Can you imagine an Astros fan stubbornly sitting in silence with his arms crossed at Game Five while the other fans celebrated? Yet, that is exactly what we do at times in church, especially as guys.
Somewhere, someone gave us the impression that real men don't sing. We feel embarrassed and self-conscious about opening our mouths in church. Yet, we can scream wildly with 41,000 other fans at Minute Maid Park. We can celebrate with our friends as we watch the game on TV. That's all we are really doing when we praise God in church.
You say: "Yeah, but I don't know how to sing. I don't have a very good voice."
To God, it doesn't matter.
In the Psalms, he doesn't tell us, "Sing a beautiful song." He says, "Make a joyful noise." It doesn't matter if you have the voice of an angel or the voice of a frog. To God, it all sounds good.
You say: "Yeah, but the music in my church is boring. I wish we had better songs or better musicians."
The music isn't the problem.
The joy of worship doesn't come from the melodies or musicians but from a thankful heart. The joy of worship comes when we think about the words we are saying and singing - when we truly grasp how unworthy we are and how amazing God's grace really is.
One day, you will hear the roar of the crowds in heaven. You will cheer and celebrate and praise God forever. But don't wait until heaven. Open your mouth now. Sing your praises to God.
Make a joyful noise.
Pastor Andrew Schroer has been a pastor for more than 15 years and is currently serving at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Edna. Read more of his devotional writing and contact him at 364DaysofThanksgiving.com.