A Beautiful Voice
By Elisa Morgan
At the direction of the worship leader, we rose to our feet and began to sing the chorus: What a beautiful name it is. The words were quiet at first, a hushed offering over the room, but they grew stronger as the melody took hold.
Somewhere in the second repetition, a squawking sound interrupted the flow around me. Off-key. Flat. Loud. Inelegant. No, worse – raw and untrained. Just plain out of sorts. Someone around me was singing – or attempting to sing – but with the wrong words and in the wrong tune at the wrong volume level. Were they actual words or more guttural utterances? I’ve heard people singing in a spiritual language but this was more primitive. It was more than distracting. The noise was cacophonous. An eruption of awful.
I turned in the direction and saw a row or two behind me, the source. She was in her teens. Short, with glowing skin, an ill-fitting dress and unruly hair escaping from a bun atop her head. Her hands were lifted above her head, creating an arc of worship. Her face – oh her face! Eyes closed, mouth wide, neck stretched upward toward her steepled arms, she radiated peace and joy. All while she sang in the most hideous harmony to the room around her.
Other faces turned to take in her offering. Stares. Gestures. Open-mouth curiosity. Clearly this girl lived with some kind of challenges. Oblivious to any deficit, she sang with all her heart in a voice only she understood.
I watched her for a while longer and then noticed her mother next to her, quieter but in a similar posture of joyful peace. Something within me quieted as well. I leaned my heart in to listen and gradually, an appreciation grew. What had seemed so off-putting now settled into my spirit as a heartfelt worship offering of love. From the girl’s soul to God’s ears, love poured out lifting up the name of Jesus. What a beautiful name it is.
The song ended and we took our seats. The voice echoed in my being and rested there. As I listened, I heard its lingering offering and recognized it for what it really was: a beautiful voice singing beautiful praises to my beautiful King.
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.
Elisa Morgan's latest book releases in October - Christmas Changes Everything. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include You Are Not Alone, When We Pray Like Jesus, The Beauty of Broken, and Hello, Beauty Full. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.