I volunteered at a radio station as DJ for a couple of years. My friend who trained me told me the importance of pacing the music. You didn’t want to play three slow songs in a row or three fast ones. He didn’t need to tell me, I learned that from church.
There’s a flow you try to create for the service. You don’t sing a rousing ‘When We All Get to Heaven‘ before the prayer. This is the time you prepare for an ‘attitude of prayer‘ and sing a prayer chorus. Sometimes the chorus would be sung a few times and the preacher might say, “this time let’s sing it just above a whisper“. You’ve likely heard this if you grew up in church. At least in my church.
Times and music have changed. Last Sunday three of our residents played Shine Down (recorded by the secular group Collective Soul) during our chapel service. The distortion on the guitars was turned up and the energy got us up on our feet as we sang with the lead on the chorus. And no, we didn’t go into prayer after this song. There was definitely no singing in a whisper.
“Oh, heaven let your light shine down…oh, heaven let your light shine down”
I like the pounding music of David Crowder’s newest release and I like, just as much, the quieter tones of his song Come and Listen. But I wonder if any of these newer songs can be sung in that ‘just above a whisper’ way daddy beckoned as he led the chorus Silently Now I Wait for Thee.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
There’s a time to dance and a time to be still.
A time to sing and a time to listen.
A time to shout and a time to whisper.
“Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.” 1 Kings 19:12 MSG