“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God; it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:1-2
There are many things about my life as a Preacher’s wife I consider atypical, however my Sunday morning seat on the 2nd pew, piano-side is about as predictable as it gets. What is unusual, however, is the motley crew of fellow worshipers who surround me. Along with my own children, my area has attracted many other young’uns – mostly boys. This past Sunday, there were thirteen of them. Yes, you read correctly. Thirteen boys on the front two pews. Thank the Lord for Children’s Church!
There is one boy I particularly enjoy sitting with because of his love for worship. When the song director announces the page number in the hymnal, he immediately hands me a book to find the correct song for him. No one sitting near this fifteen-year-old during the song service can help but feel they are in the presence of angels.
The reason? Michael is deaf and mute.
Now obviously Michael is unable to form the words to the worship songs, but what he vocalizes instead is a, ‘Woo, Woo, Woo’ to the vibrations he feels from the speakers. This past Sunday, the congregational hymn was, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’. As we neared the end, I thought to myself, “This is the part where we should all jump out of our seats and cheer. After all, we throw our hands in the air at a ballgame..Why not the Baptist Church?”
Michael must have sensed what I was thinking because at the end of that song he YELLED, ‘Woo, Woo, WOOOOOOO!” That’s all it took. I cried. Then I patted him on the back which is my way of letting him know he is special and I love him dearly. He just grinned and said, “Memen”. His word for ‘Amen’.
Amen, praise the Lord, Hallelujah, indeed!
As I thought about Michael’s joyful noise, Psalm 100 immediately came to mind. I looked up the phrase ‘a joyful noise’ in my trusty Lexicon and discovered these meanings: “to split the ears with sound, to sound a trumpet, to shout with joy or for joy.”
And then Michael’s worship made more sense than ever. A joyful noise is not a word but a shout! There are times when no words can fully express the joy in our spirit, the depth of our grief, the praise of our graciously redeemed souls. There are occasions when the song of our heart is comprised of only one prolonged syllable, exhaled to the Only One who can translate. Just as the Spirit knows how to pray for us when we can not voice His will, I believe He sings the song to the Father we can not. And what a beautiful song it is.
Until that child can say the name Jesus, I believe ‘woo hoo’ will do.