I grew up in a small church of Christ in rural North Carolina. I can recall the size of the congregation being somewhere around 120 people, most of which were relatives. In fact, in many cases I never knew the difference between those who weren't actually relatives and those who were. Nonetheless, one of the things I remembered most about growing up in that little church was the fact that everyone loved to sing. Beyond any discussions of doctrine, theology, or worship practices, people there, simply found pride in singing together.
I remember many occasions when a family would host a "singing night". Someone would swing by the church building, pick up a stack of hymnals, a truck load of folding chairs, and after a delicious cookout, 20-30 people would begin singing together in four part harmony for hours.
I'll be the first to admit, I didn't always care to sing. I was much more fascinated with playing hide-n-seek, kickball, or jumping on the tramp-o-line with other kids. Still, those were nice moments in my past. I was happy. I felt safe and I knew other than my parents, there were 20-30 other people who loved me and cared for me too.
Looking back today, that was "church" at it's best. The singing may not have been anything impressive and maybe I wouldn't choose to sing the same old songs today, but every time I hear singing similar to those nights, I smile on the inside. It wasn't about the singing. It was about the time spent together. Those are memories I'll cherish forever.
Here's a song that reminds me of those days. It's done almost exactly the way I remember it as a child... "Sing On Ye Joyful Pilgrims."