I don’t usually name names, but in this case I have to make an exception.
The other day, Mom, Jer, and I were driving and an old favorite hymn came on the radio–When We All Get to Heaven. As I listened, I got this mental image of the old days at the old Tab with the old pews (I miss the pews!), when Bob Moore would lead us in singing a few hymns before we moved on to choruses. He would stand up at the pulpit (yep, we had a pulpit, too) and lead us as if we were storming Heaven. Bob would raise his hands and his voice and the spirit of the congregation. And he had (has) one of those voices that just rings out so clear and resonant and strong–I always secretly wanted to have them turn off the pulpit mic and see if Bob still had the best volume in the church. Ten to one says he would have.
But there was something in this song that triggered another memory of Bob’s leading. If you know this song, you know that there’s a beautiful harmonic echo on the chorus, and Bob used to sing it. How odd, that the leader would sing a line of harmony! Yet, now as I think about it, I think Bob used to do that on a pretty regular basis.
This is the musical intelligence I was watching and listening to as a child. Not just someone who knows how to read music or even knows how to lead a group of singers; but someone who truly enjoyed singing and praising God, who had lungs (and control) that could outsing the rest of us, who trusted the intelligence of the congregation enough that he could stray from the melody and harmonize with us.
I remember you, Bob. Whether you meant to or not, you shaped my view of worship, music, hymns, and thus–of theology, and God Himself. I can never thank you enough, but with the approach of Thanksgiving, I am compelled to say it anyway: Thank you.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, keep singing.