Thursday, December 09, 1999

Joyful Noise

The cold damp weather had taken its toll. The last day of the distribution, I sat on the wooden floor trying to keep a steady hand against the temperature while CARE EE was about to make her last appearance. Sandy Setliff our team leader came into the house and said “hurry, CARE EE needs to come outside, the people out here have been waiting and they desperately need cheering up”.

Going out into the drizzling cold is not my idea of a fun day, or even a desired mission field. But the Lord had something in mind. Coming to the end of our work, what better thing to take part in than praise!

Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Psalm 150:5-6

When I walked out, there on the benches of our makeshift outdoor waiting room sat six adults who had accompanied their disabled neighbors, friends or relatives. There were also five adults with various disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy, to double amputees. Their faces bore more misery than a day in the cold drizzle could have created. I made my entrance with the hooting horn of a clown. At first only their heads turned, undaunted I kept up the noise. I got the electrical keyboard out with its preprogrammed demo music. I danced in circles, honked the horn, and sang along with my portable piano.

The smiles came slowly, but when I enlisted the group to help in the impromptu band – those who could stand did. They also handed out the instruments. Each individual took bells, cymbals, and tambourines ready to make a “joyful noise”.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. Psalm 95:1-3

Pre-programmed music is helpful for the first ten minutes, but when “Jingle Bells” is the only familiar tune in a foreign land it can be cause for “Excedrin Headache 101”. After the fifth solo of the Christmas song, I taught English to the willing band members. “Now repeat after me “Hey”. “Hey” they replied in a baritone depth appropriate for the dreary setting. “When I point this stick say “Hey”. I jingled and they jangled the instruments and at the appointed moment enthusiastically responded “HEY”.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing Psalm 100:1-2

After ten minutes of responsive singing, the therapist in the back came forward, the pastors wife and cook came out of the house, Damarius their daughter came in from the registration desk, each curious to see what was going on. For all they could hear was the group loudly repeating “Hey, hey, hey”. When they saw the “band” and their smiles, and what the “hey” was going on – everyone broke out with laughter. Seven measures of recorded “Jingle Bells” has never been so entertaining!

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2