It would be a very strange football stadium that was very quiet during a game. It would be odd for a party to be silent. What would we think of a karaoke club where no one joined in the singing? Can the church learn from this simple lesson? In each of these cases, the people attending are expressing themselves appropriate to their event.
Expressions give us away, whether we know it or not. It is hard to ignore an infectious laugh or grin, in fact these make us want to laugh or smile too. Our faces tell a story which we cannot hide or deny, and so it is with the places we go to. If we enjoy being at the football game, party, or karaoke it will show somewhere on us. Maybe on our faces, or by cheering or singing.
There are churches where you will hear ‘Amen’ or ‘Hallelujah’ or ‘Praise God’. You may even see hands raised in worship. These are expressions of joy at being in the presence of God. There are singing churches, where the singing is rousing, loud and praiseworthy to the King of Kings. Some singing churches have volume, some melody, and on occasion some have both! But one thing is sure, growing and thriving churches are not silent and expressionless. Sure, not everyone has a singing voice, but those would be in the minority and even these can sing when among those who can carry a tune, so what does a silent congregation mean? Maybe I should let you answer that one.
The first half of the average church service is usually given to praise and worship, and that is where we get to express ourselves. The music and songs can be old and traditional, or modern and contemporary, but the common goal is that we get to express our worship in an appropriate way. Music and song are universal. We all relate, and enjoy taking part when we can. So let me go back and ask the question again. What would you think of a silent church that didn’t express itself? Just asking.