In elementary school, my list of absolute truths was long. One of them, one of the things I knew for sure, was that singing church songs with instrumental music was wrong. Dead wrong. No doubt about it.
I’m not sure how I knew this. I don’t remember Bible class lessons or sermons about it. But I’m pretty sure there were conversations with parents and teachers and friends. When it came to Christian music, no pianos were allowed. No guitars. Just voices—singing and making melody in our hearts.
Imagine my surprise, then, when my class at Harding Elementary (a Church of Christ school) was practicing a church song for an upcoming program … and my teacher stepped behind the piano. She played along as we sang the song. In 12 years, I had never witnessed such a thing.
And what do you think I did? Well, I did what any good Christian would do. I refused to sing. And so did some others in my class, mostly the boys I think. (We were mature beyond our years.)
Our teacher, appearing slightly perturbed, looked out at us and stopped playing the piano. She sized up the situation and said, “Listen; there’s nothing wrong with practicing this song with a piano. In a few years, you will be doing the exact same thing in the high school chorus.”
She raised her eyebrows and paused for effect. I got the message. It was time to start singing again … with the piano.
I felt a tiny tremor in my faith that day. I’m not kidding.