Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Alphabet Robot

Today the Alphabet Robot came to our church's Wednesday night children's class. If you are not familiar with him, the Alphabet Robot likes to dance, but he needs to eat letter-batteries to keep up his energy. He starts with an A, dances for a while, then announces he needs the next letter. It's the children's responsibility to tell him the next letter. The two four year olds that were feeding the Alphabet Robot found it easy at first, but somewhere around E or F it became challenging for them to recall the next letter.

That's when one of them began singing the alphabet. I had learned in a language class that kids know the alphabet song long before they know the actual alphabet. It sounds strange, but think about any child you know who is learning the alphabet. Almost all are taught to sing it before they are taught to recite it. Singing worked very well for us tonight except that each time they needed another letter they had to sing the song from the beginning.  However, the Alphabet Robot is patient, so he waited for each next letter. Surprisingly, this impromptu game lasted until the letter "elemenopee." You know, the letter after K.

Songs play a special role in God's story.
  • After making it through the sea on dry land, the Israelites praised God by singing “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him" (Exodus 15:2, NIV).
  • In Deuteronomy the Israelites were instructed to sing this song as a witness: "I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he" (32:3-4, NIV).
  • The book of Psalms is filled with songs; this one was recorded in 2001 by the band Third Day almost verbatim: "Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise" (Psalm 47:6, NIV).
  • In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were praying and singing to God when an earthquake strong enough to break the prison hit them, eventually leading to a midnight baptism.

I've felt some powerful things while worshiping, but never a physical earthquake. (I've also never attended an impromptu midnight baptism. I have seen an impromptu baptism, but it wasn't at midnight. Can you image if that were our tradition?) I have felt and seen earthquakes of the heart, when an impossible chain is broken and the doors of freedom are opened. Maybe that's the power of singing, it aligns us with God in a way nothing else can.

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