The homespun instruments were spread out on the sanctuary podium like dueling pistols awaiting a dawn adventure. There was the cornet mouthpiece that you play like a kazoo. Next to it was the toy drum and rattly toy tambourine. Two tiny cymbals rested beside several dinner spoons serving as cymbal thumpers. There were three recorders, a homemade dulcimer with a single twangy string, two cha cha Mexican shakers and a two-bit brass bell the size of a baby’s fist that I bought just the day before at a Saturday sale.
It was children’s church time in the morning worship service. The kids sat in the front row twitching nervously, mischievously, as they looked first at the instruments then at the adults and then back at the instruments wondering if this was too good to be true. That they could make noise, loud noise, wanton, reckless and uninhibited noise on Sunday morning was too much to grasp.
When the signal came, they surged forward, each child with an eager hand out hoping for just the right melody maker. The bell went here, the cha chas went there, the cymbals to this one, the recorder to that one until every child had something.
Then they marched around the sanctuary. Marching and playing. Playing and marching. The adults leaned sideways parting like the Red Sea as the parade passed. Marching, smiling, smashing, blowing, tinkling, laughing, drumming and making happy childhood memories of being in church.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands” (Psalms 100).
David R. Denny Ph.D.