Thankful from head to toe

Psalm 103-1

We don’t have the live band we did in Memphis. We don’t have any musicians during our midweek Celebrate Recovery meeting nor do we have a group of men familiar with songs more often heard in church. My experience has taught me men aren’t the ones to sing out the most save a few who are swept up in the emotions of the music.

Dorothy blesses us on Sundays volunteering to play the piano, the hymns are her comfort keys. On occasion, with plenty of notice and practice we’re blessed with two or three men putting together live praise for us to join and join they do. This is what they really like but we’re limited.

James D edit

chapel edit

Eriq singing edit

Midweek we depend on the recorded music, the video’s made for congregations like ours. They have their favorites and there’s always a slight challenge for me trying to find new while keeping the comfortable.

There are some songs that pull at me so much that I nearly force the men to mumble their way through praying they will feel what I feel. 

Alumni Sunday


I should admit here that there’s a bit of control and orchestration going on. It’s as if I’m trying to conduct God when I plan how it will go: prayer requests, song, prayer. Yes, just like that because the song is a prayer itself and will move us to know we are loved by God and we need to know that. So, ready, God? On cue, 1, 2, 3…….and it doesn’t go that way. Again. Because what I feel isn’t always felt by others. My rhythm isn’t the only one in the room. But God…..

Oh, how he loves us, oh

I sit in the back running the media, thinking I’m directing everyone including the Holy Spirit. I only hear them sing quiet because I’m behind but…

Oh, how he loves us so

I see one man nod at the words on the screen and a smile and when the music goes quiet I hear their voices singing low,

Yeah, he loves us, oh how he loves us, oh….

I am thankful for their voices, quiet and low, still and silent, trembling and strong, laughing and bold. I am thankful for the voices of men who have come through our doors unsure and sometimes scared. I am thankful for them from head to toe and I will bless the Lord because, yeah, He loves us so.

The tune of God

I come to the garden alone….”

In Memphis, the men sang this song full-out. They moved with the waltz tempo and gave heart to the lyrics. I’ve never been able to hear it since leaving that place without hearing Preston’s voice echo in my memory. His falsetto on the chorus and just his love to sing these old church songs.

Music is different here. There’s no Beale Street with musicians on every corner, decent ones too. The men in the ARC here aren’t so familiar with church songs in general and today, when we tried that old standard, “I Come to the Garden”, I shut my mouth and listened. I heard men singing, out of tempo and picking notes not part of the melody or harmony. From my seat in the back, it was a mess. I kept my mouth shut to listen more to this wreck of a congregation choir. And I smiled.

Alumni Sunday

I smiled at their attempt. At their offering, meager as it was, it was offered with heart and sincerity. No doubt it was received in heaven with love and I believe, I really believe that when our voices reach God’s ears He hears it always in perfect tune, the rhythm moving just right. He receives our offerings, the ones given in truth and willingness and sincerity, He takes them as gifts laid on an altar of service and love.

I’m no singer. Not me. The rhythm I’ll have down, every sway and hesitation I’ll feel it, know it. But the tune gets lost in my head without something to guide me. I’m the worst kind of musician who knows just enough to know good from mediocre and worse. Most of the time I sing along in worship but not this day. My silent voice allowed God’s joy to be heard in the barely mediocre singing from a group of men who may miss the notes of the songs, but know the tune of God.