Every Sunday, the college group from my church gets together, eats supper, conducts a short bible study and has a time of fellowship, talking about our lives, the latest football game and future plans.
This last Sunday, instead of following the usual format, we decided to sing some church songs. After going through the traditional devotional songs, somebody started a Vacation Bible School song. From then on, it was all “In-right, outright” and “You can’t get to heaven in a red canoe.”
I found it interesting that none of us had sung those songs in at least ten years, but all of us knew the words and sang with a gusto that would put a gospel choir to shame.
Remembering the lyrics to these slightly irreverent songs, I recalled the joy I felt at church camp and the sheer spirituality and sense of belonging I had when I was younger. Those songs were not only fun to sing, but also helped us learn the scriptures and God’s will.
In Matthew 18, Jesus says “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Now, I’m positive Jesus was not speaking about the need to sing, sing, sing and shout, shout, shout, but I am sure everybody who ever went to church camp will admit the closest they felt to God was at the end of that week, sitting around the campfire and singing praises. Back then, we didn’t have to worry about how we sounded, and our cares were so much smaller than they are now. Filled with nothing but joy, happiness and praise.
Some of the better chapels are Wednesday’s Come to the Quiets, but the best chapels are the Praise Days, with the whole coliseum filled with standing college students, waving their arms and shouting “Highways, byways.” While this is not my personal favorite song, the sheer ecstasy with which we take part is exhilarating.
This song throws us back to our relatively carefree times, when we were uninhibited, jumping up and screaming “ouch” when the devil sat on a tack.
Our Sunday Bible study usually involves a deep, introspective look at our lives, whether we truly are behaving in a Christ-like manner and how we could change to better serve our heavenly father. These times are vital to growth and a strong spiritual walk, but too much of that often makes me depressed, and I start worrying about my salvation. But is that what God truly wants?
The reverence typical to a Sunday service is great, and we do need to show respect to our savior. But sometimes it feels good to lean back and bellow: “Hip hip hip hippopotamus, hip hip hooray God made all of us!”