A God Who sings!

A Heavenly Father who takes a microphone at a gospel sing-along and belts out His verse with gusto. A God Who dances, shouts, applauds and laughs with His children with unbridled glee! What a complete opposite from many of our Sunday school lessons from teachers who themselves had grown up with their own fearful and often misguided paradigm of God: The taskmaster keeping the dreadful ledger of the smallest mistake who can’t wait to “make us pay.”

Did you ever sing the childhood song, “There’s an Eye in the Sky Watching You?” One of the young men in our country church taught the children someone’s additional frightening verses that spoke of God’s wrath and vengeance. It was terrifying. (I’m sure J.M. Henson, the original author, cringed.) More than once, vivid dreams of running from this one-eyed God, resembling Homer’s or Hesiod’s mythological Cyclopes, left me screaming in the night. My sin-ridden 7-year-old self was so convinced it wasn’t “rapture ready.” How many times did I dial Rev. Jimmy Russell’s home phone only to hang up when he answered? Bro. Jimmy was the godliest man I knew, and if he was at home, the catching away certainly hadn’t happened yet and I was safe. Thankfully, under the tutelage of loving parents and a couple of wise mentors, the false image of God was slowly dismantled. To be honest, the process took years.

One of the most enjoyable and refreshing things about Bill and Gloria is their clear, un-shadowed view of God. Not that they aren’t human and never question the circumstances of life—it’s just that they have settled in their hearts that the nature of God is love, grace and ultimate good. Even when the suffering seems unbearable, the night unending or the lot in life unfair, there will be glory around the bend, joy will come in the morning. God is singing and His song will end on a note of triumph.

One snowy December evening in New York, Bill and Gloria were singing along with patrons at a tiny German restaurant. Gloria shares, “An aging polka band used to play there then, and people who knew how got up to dance the polka. But it was Christmas so the band played Christmas carols to people’s requests, and as they played, guests began to sing along. We couldn’t help but join in. There we were, in the middle of the city with the reputation for being secular and politically correct, singing with folks we’d never met: ‘Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King…’

“One after another, those dining requested their favorites and around these well-worn songs, instant community was created. People grinned at each other as the parts were added and sometimes applauded when the song was over. After the singing subsided and the aging polka band went back to playing traditional German pieces, Bill looked at me and said, ‘Well, at least He got everyone singing, didn’t He?’”

That December night, suddenly a strange phenomenon occurred. A mysterious, otherworld fragment of ancient parchment score-paper drifted earthward into Bill and Gloria’s joyous open hearts. The God Who sings began breathing, whispering, dancing and humming a newborn melody. Aren’t we grateful Bill and Gloria had listening hearts and pens poised to capture the essence of that sacred moment? One tiny snapshot of heaven sparked the song, “He Started the Whole World Singing.”

— Reba Rambo-McGuire