I know the look on my face did not match the excitement the rest of the choir felt as Queen Emily announced our next song:
“Joyful Noise” by Flame featuring Lecrae
Let’s just be honest: homegirl white. True-biz. Rhythm, not really my thing.
Yet Queen Emily was asking me to rap… with my hands… in front of a few thousand of my peers.
The song was chosen as an outreach opportunity, reaching students who wouldn’t connect with the contemporary Christian music we traditionally signed.
So, for God’s glory (and for the amusement of the rest of the sign choir), I very, very slowly learned every word and sign to the three-verse rap song.
The crowd loved it. They cheered through the whole song. We got a standing ovation. By performance day, I loved it too.
I really never thought I’d say that.
I figured it would be one of those songs I performed and promptly forgot.
Parts are a bit fuzzy, but after a year, I still know “Joyful Noise” by Flame in two different languages.
I tell you this not to brag. Ok, maybe to brag a little since it was a big personal challenge. More so, I tell you this because when we performed it, it was worshipful for me in a way that I never expected.
I was having fun on that gym floor as I tried not to get my arms tied in a pretzel.
By the time I walked out, I was beaming. By the power of Christ, I had done something I didn’t think I was capable of doing. The truth is, I hadn’t done anything but step in obedience.
I thought about quitting. It would have been easy for me to say, “Queen E, I’m going to sit this one out.” Honestly, I think she expected that. I’d been getting more vocal against our song choices as they’d gotten faster and faster. The signs were getting harder, faster, and more frequent. My rhythm-less self was struggling to keep up. My writer’s hands don’t fly the way interpreters’ do.
It’s easy to bow out when things get hard. My schedule was busy, my signing skills limited, and my body stiff.
But it wasn’t about me.
It was about the One who fought death, beat it, gave His life to the public. (I love it!)
I signed “drunk, sexed-out, and blunted” in chapel because it was worship.
I got to (not had to) worship the Lord using a song that I never would have chosen on my own. My lack of rhythm and gangly arms prevent me from being able to rap on my own.
But God used my hands, He used my arms, He used my whole body to bring glory to Himself–as He deserves.
He used me in a way I could never have fathomed. A way I would not have planned. A way I was incapable of producing on my own.
Standing on the gym floor rapping in front of the university’s entire student body was worth my weekly question, “Queen Emily, what’s the third sign?”
It was worth every hour in front of the mirror trying to get, “The same God who came through a fetus is Jesus” just right if one member of the audience heard those good words for the first time.
It was worship.
PS: Homegirl’s still true-biz white but she can (sometimes) bounce a little.
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