(The director of the choir at my church sends out devos written by the choir members periodically. This is a slightly edited version of the one I wrote for them.)
I Am Free
I am free to run!
I am free to dance!
I am free to live for You!
I am free! (Jon Egan)
[Jesus said,] "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." (Mark 10:15 ESV)
Most of you were there the first Sunday morning we sang "I Am Free." When my wife Cathy and I are at sound check, we normally leave Mikey, who is six years old, out in the pews... he's old enough to hang loose and not wander around too much (especially if we remember to bring his Game Boy Advance!) That morning Robert's wife was out there too, with their little granddaughter who is about the same age, and the two kids were playing or talking or something out there. I'll never forget what happened when the band started playing the new song. Generally at early-morning sound check I'm feeling just a LITTLE bit draggy... but I'm not six years old! When the music started thumping and we started singing, the two kids started to JUMP!
I think they jumped the whole song! Of course most of us in the choir noticed and were looking at them, mostly because it was just so cute. I was enjoying seeing them excited too, but my first inclination was to kind of discount their performance as just playing around. "They're just kids, after all," I thought. "They're not jumping because of the freedom they have in Christ... they're jumping because the music is loud and it's fun to jump. They're not really worshipping God."
In the Scripture verses just before the one I quoted above, it tells the familiar story about children wanting to come touch Jesus and His disciples trying to shoo them off. My ESV says that Jesus became "indignant." Mikey's NIrV translation says that Jesus was ANGRY! I think Jesus was also a little "indignant" that Sunday morning at my snotty judgment of the two kids' jumping, too, because the Holy Spirit instantly reminded me that Jesus said we are to come to Him as a little child. Right in front of me I was seeing an example of how a little child comes; they don't understand everything all the time, but they are always ready for a celebration! So what if they weren't thinking of the Scriptural basis of the song... so what if they weren't praying under their breath... so what if they weren't even thinking about the words at all. The song is about FREEDOM! Those kids knew where they were. They knew they were in church and not on a playground. They weren't jumping all around and running around out of just adrenaline. Those two kids know what worship means, and in their little kid way, they were participating. Come to Him like a little child!
That's why every time we sing "I Am Free" now, I have to jump. How could I not? I keep thinking about those little children, coming to worship-time not out of intellect, but just celebrating the freedom they know they have to jump for Jesus if they want to. Now I'm not at all implying that it's wrong to be thinking about something from the Word, or something we know about God, or just thinking about Jesus as we worship. That's exactly the right thing to do. We were taught us in our recent choir workshop that worship comes from your heart, from the inside and not from what is going on on the outside. But if you have the Lord Jesus in your heart already, it's also not wrong to celebrate because the music is fun and God loves it LOUD! Why do you think He has TRUMPETS in Heaven?? What part of "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might" do we not understand? "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind." Using your mind is correct. AND using your heart is correct. AND using your soul is correct. But don't forget that sometimes, it's time to love the Lord with ALL YOUR STRENGTH!
You are free to DANCE! And you are free to RUN!