Seagull sitting boldly on a Keep Off sign

I Will Sing

I Will Sing

Today’s addition to our practice of praise is this classic hymn from yesteryear, “I Will Sing”. The author of this song was Francis H. Rowley, a Baptist minister who served at various congregations in New England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Rowley had a large heart, not only caring for people (advocating for and serving on various boards for the ill) but also speaking up for animals. Once he understood the barbaric practices at work at the time in the slaughterhouses, he roused himself to do something about it.

Rowley was hugely successful during his lifetime in his work with various organizations for the cessation of cruelty to animals. Pretty cool, right?

So, speaking of animals, what about the seagull in the photograph above? This cheeky fellow flew right smack toward the sign, then turned at looked at me, as if to say,

“And what are you, human, going to do about it?”

Keep Off

The sign is clear: Keep Off. The rule is plain to see. And the seagull? He doesn’t care. Watch him stare at us, daring us to change his mind.

Notice his exquisite placement; of all the spots to plunk down, he has chosen that very spot, that exact location, in defiance of that sign. He’ll land where he does. Take that.

The Nerve!

I gotta admit it. I want to be more like that seagull. I would like to take my stand, stare you in the face, and make some noise. You don’t have to like it.

Often just bold in my dreams, I usually resemble a furtive mouse, instead. Nothing like this grand, bold, seagull.

Because, in my apartment, sounds carry well.

So, I usually skitter about quietly. Don’t want to the neighbors to hear me sing. It’s not for them. It’s for Jesus; it’s for me.

But today I didn’t need Mr. Seagull’s boldness. The place was empty! Gloriously, magnificently, perfectly empty.

So I grabbed my chance, taking advantage of this lovely interval, with nobody home downstairs to hear.

And so for a moment, I got to live out loud!

Let’s make some noise!

I turned up the worship music, (mostly my Phil Wickham station) and sang out, just as loud as you please. It was so much fun!

I felt this gorgeous sense of relaxation. I knew that I was not providing unsolicited entertainment for anybody else.

Before Constraint

Before we moved into this rental, I never understood what a sense of care-free ease was mine, living like we did, in a house.

Even in the town home, we had a decent amount of auditory privacy. Before, we moved in here, we just lived our lives, without even thinking about the gift of privacy that was ours.

We might fight. We might burst out with laughter. We might bawl our hearts out. (OK, I might bawl my eyes out.) We might crank up the sound, and watch those action movies at full blast! Whatever.

We also might commune with our God, in any ole way we chose. And that’s the thing I miss the most.

My practice of praise is just for me and Him–alone. But now, it’s really hard. I’m always aware of “listeners” to most every noise I make.

Sharing Space

When our downstairs neighbors can hear us, I really squirm.

“Hey, that was a private conversation, between me and my spouse,” my psyche silently protests.

Nope. Not so much; you forgot to modulate your volume. The neighbors probably heard most of that conversation.

And that’s just how things are.

Now to some people, this is not a big deal. Some lucky souls share auditory space without a thought. My husband hardly flinches.

“OK”, he reasons, he reassures, he repeats, “They are just people. So are we. Who cares if they heard us?”

Well…I do. And so I safeguard private moments. I nearly whisper my prayers. My innermost self is shared with my very best Friend, alone.

For His ears, only.

And Yet

And yet, when I take my eyes off of my rather spoiled self, I begin to see something previously unknown to me. When I understand that most of the world’s population, for most of the world’s history, have lived with meager auditory privacy, who am I to expect more?

And what’s more, this is the home where I’ve been placed. He allowed this season for a purpose.

Could it be that God placed a song-bird (who loves to sing) in a poorly insulated older duplex for a reason?

Might He want her to share her faith by just doing what comes naturally–if she can manage to live her life out loud?

Besides, take a look at today’s hymn. How can we not sing it out, whether folks downstairs are home or not? Perhaps I might resemble my bold seagull friend, one day, at last.

I Will Sing

Catch these words, penned by Rowley one night at the request of a friend who needed some lyrics:

[Verse 1]
I will sing of my Redeemer
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross he suffered
From the curse to set me free

[Verse 2]
I will tell the wondrous story
How my lost estate, to save
In his boundless love and mercy
He, the ransom freely gave

[Verse 3]
I will praise my dear Redeemer
His triumphant power I will tell
How the victory he giveth
Over sin, and death, and hell

Sing, oh sing of my Redeemer
With his blood, he purchased me
On the cross, he sealed my pardon
Paid the debt, and made me free

by Francis H. Rowley (1886).

The truths in this hymn are, perhaps, the very best thing I could ever bear aloft on the airways of my home, don’t you think?

Such words might float throughout this house, and maybe yours, too. Lets them land where they may.

I Will Sing of My Redeemer

Head on over to the playlist to for more worship!