On Sunday in our series on prayer I talked about singing being part of our prayer life. Besides for the Psalms, there are plenty of other songs found in scripture, and I said that it didn't matter whether you can sing or not that you should feel confident enough to sing to God.
This then brought up the inevitable question about who sings in the choir, and in particular in the praise band. If you want to join our praise band currently, there is not really an audition, but interested members are required to come and rehearse with the band for several weeks, without performing with them during worship, in order to see how they fit into the overall group, and to make sure their musical skills fit what is needed. Some people think this is wrong, that we should take everyone, after all we are called to "make a joyful noise to the Lord," so we should take whoever wants to even if it's noisy.
Every time I hear this I wonder how far we are willing to push that analogy. If we wanted to paint a mural would we let someone who can only draw stick figures do it because that's who wants to do it? Or would we let someone who was a terrible public speaker, but wanted to preach, do so so they could make a joyful noise? Or would we let someone who was a bad teacher take over a Christian formation class? And if we aren't willing to do those, why wouldn't we apply the same to music? Is music somehow fundamentally different from those things?
I believe that we are called to give our best to God, most especially in worship, and that means we are called to use our gifts in the best way possible, and so we find those with the best gifts for music, or teaching, or art, or preaching, or anything else, and put them in those places to give our best to God. Not everyone has those gifts, and so we find out what their gifts are and utilize those for the betterment of the church and the community. That is not to say that people who can't carry a tune shouldn't sing, because they should, but maybe not at the front, and those who don't have artistic talent can still paint, and should be encouraged to be creative, but maybe not be creative on the walls.
But at the same time I do struggle with this question to a degree because I don't want to stifle people in what they want to give to the church and to God. In a large church this is easier because it's clear what those expectations are, but in a medium size church it's much harder.
Does making a joyful noise mean that we should allow anyone make that noise regardless of how noisy it becomes?