Practice makes perfect
The thing about singing is that virtually everyone can do it. Provided your vocal cords are in working order then you can sing. You may not enjoy singing – whether it’s in church or the privacy of your shower – but most of us are technically able to do it. Being self-conscious about how your voice sounds or thinking you’re hitting the wrong notes are good reasons why people don’t like singing. However, almost everybody can learn to sing in tune. Having amusia – the technical term for tone deafness – is actually quite rare. The voice, like any musical instrument, can be trained through teaching and practice.
Writing previously about how much I have missed sung worship, as a means of praising God since HTR closed last March, made me think about whether being able to sing tunefully matters. Of course not! God doesn’t require an audition for his choir; He doesn’t need us to sing scales, discern intervals and clap rhythms. He just wants us to turn up for the rehearsals.
Rick Warren’s well-known book “The purpose driven life” says, “Life on earth is just the dress rehearsal for the real production” arguing that our physical life on earth, long or short, is just a preparation for the “real thing” and is brief in comparison to the eternal life Jesus promised.
I tend to think of my earthly life and Christian faith in more prosaic terms. The European romance languages use a word for rehearsal (I was a linguist by training) that is closer to the word ‘repetition’. Christian churches with a strong liturgical basis repeat much the same creeds and rituals every week. Us evangelicals tend not to do this. Yet how often do we in private repeat the same prayers over and over? How often do we make the same petitions? How often do we then repeat the same mistakes and ask for the same forgiveness, no matter how repentant we are each time?
Rather like my singing practice, if I repeat my prayers enough times I wonder if I can become a better Christian and be better prepared for eternal life? While I wait to find out I shall take encouragement from James 5 verse 13:
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.
Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”