The loudest sound in the world is that of an audible silence. I noticed it in church a few weeks ago after a particularly moving piece of special music – a few seconds of obvious quiet, followed by a spontaneous and appreciative applause.
This happens every time she sings. It took a while to figure out why some singers elicit a response like this and some don’t. Surely having the voice of an angel helps, but something else is at play, and I think I know what it is. It’s obvious when we not only listen to her sing, but watch her sing. It’s right there in the Book of Psalms, and particularly in those great songs of praise that we find in Psalms 146 – 150.
“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 146:1, 2)
“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; ... Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving. Sing praises on the harp to our God.” (Psalm 147:1, 7)
“Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise him in the heights!” (Psalm 148:1)
“Let the saints be joyful in glory. Let them sing aloud on their beds.” (Psalm 149:5)
“ Praise him with the sound of the trumpet! Praise him with the lute and harp!” (Psalm 150:3)
When she’s singing, she’s not singing a song to the congregation. She’s singing a prayer to God. You can see it in her face and demeanor. And by doing that, she’s drawing our attention away from herself and toward the Father of lights.
Instead of entertainment, she’s providing a space of peaceful devotion, leading us to the feet of the Father.
How unlike the “Look at me” temptation that can overcome the best of us when we spend too much time on stage!