On Sunday a soloist sang from The Messiah. It was beautiful and reminded me of an Easter almost 10 years ago.
I was at the time attending a church about an hour from home; my job also was about an hour away, in the other direction. One Sunday I felt tired of driving and went to a small Methodist church in my neighborhood. I was struck during the service by how terrible the choir was -- the worst I've ever heard. The individual voices stood out, and they were off-key. During the announcements, the choir director said that the choir would be singing parts of the Messiah in celebration of Easter, and that anyone was welcome to join them. He said that he had scouts listening to people during the service to recruit people.
I do not have a very good voice, but I can read music passably and enjoy singing in choirs. When two choir members came to me after the service to issue me a personal invitation to join the choir in singing the Messiah, I was humbled to realize that THIS was the kind of choir that would want me. They really could use my voice! I said yes because I thought it would be fun.
And it was fun -- I enjoyed the practices, to be singing again, and the choir director was, surprisingly, very good at directing us. Nevertheless, we still sounded awful. I invited several friends to come to the performance on the afternoon of Easter Sunday, and I warned them that we were really bad. They came anyway.
Afterwards, they accused me of misleading them: "What do you mean that this choir isn't any good?! It was spectacular!" And it truly was. During the whole performance, we sounded like a different choir, one with power and glory, praising our exalted God. All I can guess is that the heavenly choir joined us that afternoon, because we did not have it in us. It seems to me an apt metaphor for the Christian life -- we bring our small, off-key voices, and Jesus transforms them into a sound that glorifies God. The credit is all his.