It was too loud she said. The music. Even in the back where she sat with her family, she claimed it was much too loud. Her heart was blinded to the message of life by her unmet musical preferences. Instead of the lyrical voices of victory, her ears heard noise. Her mind shut out the resurrection story that injects hope into our imperfections. Her heart was spurned, although not unmoved. Because she thought the music was too loud.
And then her tongue caught fire. In a chance meeting mid-service, she had the (unfortunate) opportunity to lash out at the girl with the big voice full of grace who had led us in worship. Her words were meant to cut. Her stare meant to intimidate. She aimed and fired at the girl with a voice so powerful you could feel the Spirit hover over her. The girl with the voice turned and found her way back on stage with a grace this woman knew nothing of. She would lead again – empowered by the Spirit of the risen King – and not hold back the truth she was there to proclaim.
But that wasn’t enough for the jaded woman. At the end of our worship (did she miss hers?) she made a point to fill the ears of other musicians with her disdain. Her one and only complaint…it was too loud. They listened…with patience. They responded…with grace. She expected…what?
The man with the gift of teaching brought a powerful message – bringing the stories of old to life – and it ended with a question. How will you respond? For many, the response was humble worship. Deep gratitude. Life giving praise. For the woman unable to endure the music, it was a sharp tongue. A harsh complaint. A misplaced focus.
For me…the response was organic. I had a compulsion to let them know – the musicians – that the worship was phenomenal. Their voices, their instruments, their very words prepared my heart for a tenacious message of victory. I shared my adulation with each of the gifted musicians, but I wondered if the woman’s grievances kept them from hearing. Did the grievous voice of one have the power to drown out the praise of many?
An overwhelming sense of justice arose as a fire in my chest as I found my way out of the masses. I wanted to correct her. I wanted to contradict her. I wanted to negate her foolish words. I had become judge. Judge. And there it was. I allowed her “too loud voice” to spurn my own heart. I had aimed and fired in my own mind. I had become as she…too distracted by the “sound” to respond appropriately.
Jesus forgive me.
And that is why He came. To forgive the sinful. And the pious. And the incompetent judge. He came to transform and renew and inspire.
He is risen. He is risen indeed.