We were invited to a hymn sing at a local church last evening. Friends of ours just recently started attending this church, so we had never been there before. Since we love to sing (and love our friends), we went, even though it meant keeping the children up past their bed times.
Let me set the scene for you…
There is a quaint, country church. It is a dark, cold evening. The night is still and quiet. Then we arrive.
A glance at my watch proves all my pushing and prodding did get us to the church with ten minutes to spare. A glance around the parking lot discovers our friends’ vehicle, so they’ll be there to greet us.
At this point, children start erupting out of the Sprinter:
Emery goes running. Mom yells, “Emery, come get the diaper bag!”
Fletcher disappears around the corner. (Before Mom has a chance to yell something to him).
Colter prepares to sprint to the church. Mom yells again, “Colter get the baby wipes.”
Hewitt goes running off without his coat. Mom yells, “Hewitt come get your coat.” Hewitt runs off. Mom yells again, “Hewitt you have to put your coat ON.” Hewitt puts his coat on. Hewitt can’t zipper his coat. Mom says, “You don’t have to zipper it, just run into the church.” Hewitt responds, “Me want it zippered.” Mom responds, “Fine, come here.”
Greyden… hmmm, I don’t know when Greyden disappeared.
Meanwhile, Jim is patiently waiting to get Jade and her car seat out of the Sprinter. Mom gasps, “Oops, nobody buckled Jade into her carseat.” Mom gives thanks that we weren’t in a car accident.
(This photo is what Jade is supposed to look like – notice the buckles that are actually fastened.)
Ok, fast forward. We are all now actually in the church. There are a bunch of old people, our friends, and us. Later we found out the attendance was a whopping 45. That means we made up almost 1/4 of the attendance!
My children are tearing around the church while Jim and I are being introduced to people. (I think boys possess some primal urge to explore every inch of any new, uncharted territory they encounter.)
Fast forward another 15 minutes and it is time to start the hymn sing. We had just assumed a “hymn sing” meant a bunch of people singing hymns together. It did mean that, but with a twist. It seems the church also wanted people to perform “special music”. Uh oh! This little church had no idea what they had just gotten themselves into.
After prayer, the music leader begins, “OK, does anyone have any requests. Colter’s hand immediately shoots up – “The Old Rugged Cross.” We sing that. Colter’s hand shoots up again and he starts to yell out another song, but Emery beats him by yelling out, “He Arose!” The poor music leader was thinking that Emery was saying “Heroes” and couldn’t figure out what Emery was talking about.
Now, if you don’t know the song, “He Arose”, it’s quite a good one. And it happens to be a Jonas trademark song. It is one of the songs that Daddy used to sing in his Church Musical Dramas. It starts out, low and soft:
Low in the grave He lay
Jesus, my Savior
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus, my Lord.
Then the tempo and volume build:
Up from the grave he arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a victor
From the dark domain
And He lives forever
With His saints to reign
He arose (He arose)
He arose (He arose)
Hallelujiah, Christ arose.
That’s how it is usually sung. But that is NOT how the Jonases sing it. We sing it like this:
HE AROSE (HE AROSE)
HE AROSE (HE AROSE)
HALLELUIAH, CHRIST AROSE!
Picture little boys yelling at the tops of their voices.
Now, our friends are used to this from us. So they knew what to expect the minute Emery chose this song. (One of their children even put his hands over his ears since they were sitting in front of us). But everyone else in that church turned around to stare at us with big grins on their faces.
Colter and Emery tried to choose the rest of the songs to sing, but at that point the music director was wise to them and said, “Does anybody from this side (not ours) have a song they’d like to sing?”
After a few more songs, our friend’s children and our children went to the front of the church to sing for everyone. They’ve performed together like this many times, so they are quite good. (Or at least quite entertaining).
They sang a few songs and then broke into the second signature Jonas hymn – Victory in Jesus. Now, picture Hewitt (age 3) up there. Victory in Jesus is his favorite song. He’s got a huge grin on his face, singing as loudly as he can, 3 words behind everyone else, and is swinging his butt from left to right. Fletcher (also up front) is laughing and saying to me, “Mom, look at Hewitt, look at Hewitt” (I guess he forgot he was supposed to be singing?) It was quite a spectacle. Once again, everyone was looking back my way, grinning.
Did I mention that I had all the boys dressed in matching blue and white striped shirts?
Then it was back to more group singing. By this point, over an hour had past. Fletcher was very hungry and thirsty and kept asking for food. I told him when we were done singing he could have a snack. It was during this last group sing that Fletcher noticed the back of the pews. Next to where the hymnals and Bibles are held, there is a piece of wood with 3 holes in it. This is to hold the little drink cups that are used to hold the juice from communion. I’m assuming that Fletcher was thinking how thirsty he was when he announced, “Dad, are we going to get some Jesus juice tonight?”
The morale of this story – beware of inviting the Jonases anywhere – we always manage to make quite a spectacle of ourselves!