Persistent Praise (or “Please Stop Singing!”)

Thursday, July 31

Close Up of MusicBy Carl Mesle of Independence, Missouri, USA

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous. Praise befits the upright…Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

—Psalm 33:1, 3–5 NRSV

As a teenager, John loved to sing with the other youth in his congregation. It wasn’t long before someone would say, “Please, John, stop singing!” When he asked why, they would say, “John, you sing in monotone, always singing the same note.”

These comments would crush him, until one day a compassionate choir director arranged for John to take voice lessons. The other singers could hear only John’s poor voice, but the choir director heard John’s need to praise God.

When asked by his new voice coach why he wanted to learn to sing, John answered, “I want to be a missionary. In some small congregations I will have to lead the singing.” The voice teacher took on her new charge (and challenge), spending twice as long with him as with other students.

Because John was the son of a cash-strapped missionary himself, the teacher charged only half her normal lesson fee. The teacher’s determination and John’s faith brought progress. I soon saw him singing bass in the Messiah Choir at Stone Church. This shows the power of persistence, the result of a youth leader who listened, and the patience and generosity of a teacher.

Prayer for Peace Patient God, help us be patient, too. Help us respect the desires of others to serve. May we welcome their gifts, offered from the heart. May we invite them to join us in sharing Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring God’s Call to Others Reflect on God’s call in your life. Quietly reflect on the moments when you have experienced God’s presence and invitation to expand your gifts. Write in your journal or quietly reflect on images and insights that come. When have you experienced God through the calling and gifts of others? How do your gifts connect with the call of God you notice in your family, friends, congregation, or community?

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will listen to the heart of those who praise you.

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  1. Lu Mountenay

     /  31 July 2014

    Sorry to tell Vera and all Carl’s friends, he passed away Wednesday, July 23. Those of us who knew him all remember what a true disciple he was. Here is a link to his memorial service:

  2. Vera Entwistle

     /  31 July 2014

    Greetings to an old friend. It was wonderful to see your name on todays Daily Bread and to know you are still a power for good. You touched our lives in so many ways when we were youth leaders at Stone Church. We send much love and appreciation to you, Carl.
    Brian and Vera Entwistle


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