Jim Hudson D. T - Lewisville, North Carolina
Second Year Choir Member
It's been difficult to be in Gospel Choir sometimes, especially when I first started. There's no music so everything is learned by ear, which has been difficult - I sometimes still don't know whether I'm singing the right words for some songs, I never know if I'm singing the right notes, and as a tenor there's a lot of high notes, too much and too high. Gospel Choir also requires commitment, a lot of commitment. Practice is twice a week for two hours, and we do a good number of concerts at churches, schools - wherever they want us to go and it can be draining. Now onto the style of worship itself. I've always liked the genre, how it sounds, the rhythm, and movement of the songs, but Gospel music - I discovered - was more than that. It required more of me, of each individual - up on stage and those in the audience. It wasn't a forceful "requirement" (although sometimes I definitely felt like I was being forced to pull on something inside me that I felt wasn't there), but the nature of worship itself, regardless of style, pulls from you something more than just an emotional or mental response. It's easy to worship God inside my head because that's how I grew up and it's also going to be easy worshiping God with my body if that's the way I grew up. Culture affects how we worship and in what contexts we are comfortable in. Thus, worship - in spirit and in truth - is influenced by our culture, but it also transcends it. Singing and dancing can easily happen in our heads or with our bodies, and yet it isn't worship, even if we are singing the right words - "These people honor me with their lips, but their heart if far from Me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men." (Isaiah 29:13) Worship comes through something else, from the heart, or, in the original Hebrew, from our levav - our thoughts, emotions, and something even deeper and bigger than that, our life.. It is more than just singing, moving, dancing, and the right combination of words. That's what God has taught me in my time with Gospel Choir. And with worship everything else (all my complaints) get put in its proper place and seen through the right lenses. "There's no music and so everything is learned by ear" and so everything is taught by ear too - PRAISE THE LORD for Miss Tanya, Tiffany, and Jerard, for the genius that lies within them! Gospel Choir requires a lot of commitment - to worship! We are called to live as living sacrifices of praise. It is the purpose of our bodies, minds, and souls. And the hours on the bus, in soundcheck, and waiting to get on stage really builds community. There's a sense of family that grows each time.This is Wheaton College Gospel Choir through the lens of one guy in it; someone favored with the opportunity to worship God twice a week, as a follower of Christ, and as a part of the body of Christ.