The pianist knew one speed: fast.
She knew one volume: loud.
Loud benefited one member
of that tiny country church.
Miss Rae was about a hundred years old
(at least she seemed so to me, a child still in the single digits),
and deaf as a doorknob.
That didn’t stop her.
As the pianist pounded away at selections from the Baptist Hymnal,
Miss Rae could hear just enough to pick out the words
but not the tune.
In a voice I’m not sure was ever melodious,
she warbled along at top volume
about two measures behind the rest of us.
“Living He loved me;
Dying He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away.
Rising, He justified freely forever;
One day He’s coming
Oh, glorious day!”
Every hymn was an off-key round, with Miss Rae taking up the rear.
Stifling giggles or (later) rolling our eyes,
my sister and I made fun of her
(at home, and in private, of course; our mother would have killed us otherwise).
When Casting Crowns recorded their new arrangement of this old song,
Miss Rae’s face (and voice)
returned unbidden to my memory.
I hadn’t thought of her in years.
Now, looking back,
I see sunlight streaming through windows
of that little church and hear her singing
how infinitely tender
those inharmonious songs
were to her Savior.
was her unashamed praise!
It was a sweet, sweet sound in His ears.