Once upon a time, on a 15-minute panel show on our lovely Christian radio station that isn’t here anymore, I heard a woman give advice that I hope I never forget:
When things go bad, she said… “Sing louder.”
Okay! I’ve got Simon Khorolsky, he sings so you can hear it: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. With snow and trees.
“Sing louder!” the lady said. Well, all right. This was the first hymn to pop into my head this morning–and the first to come up on YouTube. We Are Not Alone–coming to us from southern India. Excuse me for posting it again: I think I need it.
This is what “Sing louder” means! From India, 250 voices–bring it, brothers and sisters, bring it home! It’s an old Sunday school favorite: Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. How it comes back to me now! Just when I needed it, too.
I suddenly wished to hear and post this hymn–an old, old Isaac Watts classic, published in 1724: Am I a Soldier of the Cross? This rendition is by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Great evil and madness, once beyond our power to imagine, is afoot in our world today.
We must all be soldiers of the cross–any way we can.
No matter how dangerous the situation that confronted his army, Hannibal wanted the troops to see their commanders in good spirits; so when he conferred with his officers, he made a point of treating them to witticisms that got them laughing–and it was very good for everyone’s morale. Like, “How bad can it be, when General Cummerbund is yucking it up like that?”
Thousands of non-existent readers have been asking me, “Why don’t you do nooze on Sunday? Why all the silly stuff?” (What? Oy, Rodney is silly?)
Well, look: there are people out there–those swabs in Davos, the vultures on Capitol Hill, the hyenas in the media–who’d like nothing better than to see us hiding under our bedsheets and trembling for dread of them. As if we had no God!
I am sure the very last thing they want to see and hear from us is laughter. It means we’re either laughing at them–which of course we are, sometimes–or just plain ignoring them as we laugh at something else. Either way it winds up looking like they haven’t scared us.
It’s wise advice for Christians to sing louder. It’s also wise, I think, for us to laugh from time to time.
At the very least, blow the Left a big wet raspberry.
I’ve always thought it excellent advice: when life gets hard for a Christian, “Sing louder!” Reach out to God with hymns and psalms. All day long, on and off, if you have to. But I never had to put it to the test.
All right, let me try it. I’m mourning our cat, Peep. I’m watching my country, governed by idiots, thieves, and villains, be murdered by inches. Patty and I were sick and our affairs got disordered by it. My spirit ain’t right, just now–very far from it. I could just sit down and scream.
So let me try the hymns instead. I don’t have to sing them out loud. Start with this one, Christ Shall Have Dominion. Work my way around to Hyfrydol. It’s got to be better than gnashing my teeth.
I think I’ll sit outside and think, and silently sing hymns, and have my cigar. Before it rains.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was from a woman on a little 15-minute Christian radio show, years and years ago. When things get really hard, when your faith is stretched to the breaking point, she said… sing louder!
For we have a mighty fortress and the devil can’t prevail against it. And so this hymn, by way of emergency relief–A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, sung by the choir and congregation at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.