I have grown up in small town South Dakota most of my life. There hasn't been much dancing in the aisles or "Praise the Lord!"/"Amen!" moments. For the most part people sing and maybe raise a hand here or there, but let's not get too crazy, right?
Then there are those who just stand and listen as the singing goes on around them. Most of you think this is just a male problem, but when you are up front you see that it affects both genders and all ages. People will tell me that they "can't sing" or have been requested not to sing. One of those non-singers happens to have grown up in my own house.
Zachary has a beautiful baritone voice. I've heard it many times as he is taking a shower or a song catches him as he walks through the house or sings along with his stereo in his pickup. But in public (like church) it's not happening. I'm sure that's like many of the "I can't sing" folks.
God doesn't care if you are an opera-trained virtuoso or the same little screecher you were in second grade. All He cares is that you make a JOYFUL noise.
"Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully and shout for joy."
Let's look at a few examples of what is written about in Psalm 33.
"Sing joyfully". I remember as a kid in Claremont listening for the voice of Bob Olson. He had a booming bass voice (think Dixon) and he loved the bass line in every hymn. Each week he would sing the bass line of the "Amen" chorus we sang a the close of prayer. Every time I wondered if it could possibly be right as he went high, low, high, low, high, high, high, high, low. As a 9-year old it sounded silly, but Bob knew it and belted it out with gusto and joy!
"Play skillfully." When I was in Haiti last year I went to a church service and watched an older man "skillfully play" an instrument of his own design. It was engine parts connected with metal straps with a plastic tube he would blow into. It had the sound of an amplified kazoo, but it was his harp he used to praise the Lord. He couldn't find a harp so he created his own instrument of praise.
"Shout for joy." In my brother's church in Nebraska there was an older gentleman who loved to hear music. Whenever a there was special music you could guarantee when it was over you would hear "Aaa-MEN!" from him. It was his way of echoing whatever sentiment the song had proclaimed to God. He never was the one up front, but he always let God know he was wholeheartedly agreeing with the praises.
Sing! Play! Shout! Where do you find yourself? Shed your inhibitions. Don't worry about your neighbor. This is a moment between you and God. If you feel called to sing- SING! If you have an instrument that you feel compelled to play- PLAY! If you want to shout and cheer for God- SHOUT! Whatever you do, do joyfully to God your Father who is worthy of praise!