Evangelist

Yesterday, while chatting with the kitchen workers after everything was cleaned up and put away at the rescue mission, they asked Hannah and I to sing. They ask us every week to sing something and we came prepared this time by practicing, “How Great Thou Art”. Hannah has a incredible ear for harmony and she mesmerizes the group who gathers around to listen. We grabbed our new friends Lucy and Marlin to join in. It is such an enthusiastic way to end the lunch service, I am already looking forward to next week. Lucy invited us to visit her church this weekend. She explained that all their singing there is without instruments. I said, “A Capella?” And she said, ” Let me show you something.” Lucy got out her bible and we sat down to talk about Jesus. I admire people who are ‘at the ready’ for any moment to evangelize. I have never done that really. I can talk about God with a prepared lesson, I can talk about God to my family, I can talk about God in the churches; but I am not sure I ever took someone by the hand in an unexpected place to share the gospel. Could you see me standing on a street corner shouting a message of love? Anything is possible, but I have not felt that calling. So, we sat where the homeless were an hour ago, and she showed me scripture about God’s will for us in the way we worship. Never had I heard before that instruments are not appropriate in worship according to Scripture. I said, ” What about David, a man after God’s own heart? Don’t the Psalms tell us to sing and take up the harp and lyre?” Lucy had several verses of the New Testament highlighted to show that songs should be for teaching God’s word and we should worship with our voices only. WOW! I knew I would go right home to research this one. And I did. Context for any scripture is vitally important of course. How could instrumental music or using ones talents be offensive to God? Well, I have heard some, including my own voice, that slips from the pleasing melodious sounds that make for a pleasant worship. Nevertheless, it is what is in our hearts that is important. The lessons I learned from Lucy were many. Be ready to share the Gospel everywhere, be open to understanding the perceptions of others, and be careful in reading the bible with discernment instead of searching for words to support our own thinking. I know Lucy will have more for me in weeks to come. For next week there was a request for Whitney Houston songs- I think I will turn that over to Hannah.

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2 thoughts on “Evangelist

  1. I don’t know the Gospels, but I do know the Torah and Jewish Law, which was codified by the Men of the Great Assembly in the days of the First Holy Temple and later amended after the destruction of the Second Holy Temple. Jesus lived in the days of the Second Temple, as you know.

    When the Temples stood, the Levites stood on the 15 steps that joined the men’s and women’s courtyards. They played with trumpets, lyres, harps, and drums, and sang the holy songs of King David, even on the Sabbath and Holy Days.

    After the destruction of the Temples, the Rabbis decreed that we no longer merited to play instruments on the Sabbath and Holy Days, but on all other days it is permitted and desirable. In fact there are entire sects whose form of devotion is to sing and play instruments, although instruments are not played on the Sabbath etc. I’m interested to know how and why this was changed, and by whose authority. See palm 150.

    • The earliest Christ followers met in secret after the crucifixion, burial, and ressurection because they feared for their life. I cannot imagine that there was any musical attention at this time. It will take some research into the time when Chritianity became a public worship and the first church buildings established where instrumental music was re introduced. Sadly, man’s authority often ignores God’s commands, or simply does not understand them. The choice to change the day of worship, and to establish celebrations that align with pagan holidays may have been the attempt of Kings and leaders to find unity in their Kingdoms. It is curious why Christians do not celebrate the festivals from the Old Testament as commanded by God. It may be a mistake to look at Christianity as a new religion separate from the Jewish tradition, rather than a continued faith in Gods’s fulfilled promises of a Savior Jesus Christ.

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