My grandfather was a huge fan of Southern Gospel music. As a kid I tagged along with him to “singings” as he called them. These were officially known as Quartet Conventions (as I later learned), where one group after another took the stage to sing in four part harmony.
There were old standards like, “Just a Little Talk With Jesus,” and “On the Jericho Road.” But also uncommon tunes that some in attendance had never heard. Many of the groups stuck around, after their sets, to take requests from the audience.
One quartet in particular, the Journeymen, never missed a beat. No matter what the crowd requested, they sang it in perfect harmony. Once I asked the *bass singer, a bearded giant of a man, “How do you do that—sing the right notes all the time?”
He got down on my level, and looking me in the eye he said:
“If it’s in the chord, it’s from the Lord!”
He explained: “Son, the crowd doesn’t know how the harmony goes. So I find some good bass notes and sing them like I mean it.”
I can easily hear a new Christian asking a more mature believer the same thing, “How do you do that— live a reverent life before God all the time?
Answer: You stay in harmony (the chord). Make the main thing the MAIN THING.
Seek first the kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33) Offer yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. (Romans 12:1) Here’s a harmonic triad: act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) Love others as Christ loves you. (John 15:12)
And the list goes on…
The point is, we don’t have to be perfect in our walk with God. Just stay in the chord (on the right path) and He will see you through.(Psalm 119:105)
Perhaps this musical motif is a good picture for abiding in Christ. When Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you” (John 15:4) it reminds me of, “If it’s in the chord, it’s from the Lord.”
Stay on the main streets with God (like branches from the Vine), and the side streets will take care of themselves.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2a
Please help me find some more good “bass” notes. What scriptural “nuggets” would you share with a new Christian?
- My encounter with the bass singer is historical fiction (plausible, but contrived to fit the story). I came up with the saying, “If it’s in the chord…” many years later, based on my memories of attending quartet conventions with my grandfather.