Warning: You’re probably not going to believe this really happened but I’m here to tell you that it really did.
Yep. Hand me that stack of Bibles and swear me in.
So I was hangin’ out in our remote Smoky Mt. cabin early one morning last week, long before anyone else had risen. The sun had just slivered through the misty tree boughs and I’d cranked open the windows to breathe in the crisp morning air.
Now I love to play mountain music up there. Probably because it’s in the mountains. You know the type of music I mean … dulcimer, banjo, mandolin, string bass – fast paced and free. Good ole foot stompin’ stuff.
So I plugged in a CD called Hymns of the Smokies. It wasn’t long before the upbeat rhythms had me juking and jiving praise along to old time hymns of our forefathers like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” I was having a great little solitary worship time, singing along and getting my bad self down on the dance floor, er, I mean living room plank floor.
And then the choir arrived.
I mean to tell you, as soon as the first notes of “Shall We Gather at the River” rang out, birds started gathering at the window by the CD player. I kid you not. All kinds of birds. They perched on branches of the trees and shrubs just outside the cabin, and even on the windowsill itself, singing along with that worship music at the top of their little birdie lungs.
They sang. I sang. We all sang and praised our Papa God together. It was enough to swell your heart to the size of an eggplant.
I have no idea why they were attracted to that particular song, but as soon as it ended, all but one flew away. One stalwart little soul hung around for part of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” and then he, too, took off for whatever it is mountain birds do in the mornings (besides church).
It just tingles the toes of my soul to imagine that Papa’s little creatures might actually do just that. Do church. In their own way, in their own language, in their own venues, far away from human eyes and ears. Doesn’t the Bible say that all of creation will praise His name?
“The heavens will praise Thy wonders, O Lord, Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones” (Psalm 89:5, NASB).
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6, NASB).
“Praise the Lord from the earth … mountains and all hills … beasts and all cattle; creeping things and winged fowl” (Psalm 148:7-10, NASB).
And for my praise to have momentarily intersected with their praise will always be one of the greatest thrills of my life.
I just hope bear church is on another mountain.
(If you’re interested in doing a mini-study of creation worshiping Papa God in song, also see Psalm 5:3, Psalm 5:11, Psalm 8:7-9, Psalm 9:2,11 and all of Psalm 148.)