Isaac the dog is very good at letting me know his favorite music. He is equally as good at letting me know what he doesn't like.
I came home from work this week with the desire to listen to some of the contemporary Christian music that raised and formed me spiritually. I popped in the 2015 DVD, CCM United: We Will Stand, and did some house cleaning while singing along to classics like “El Shaddai,” “Praise the Lord,” and “The Basics of Life.”
All the while, Isaac sat quietly on the couch, “humming along” to some songs and sleeping through others. When the original members of the trio, First Call, began singing, “Undivided,” Isaac’s eyes were glued to the TV. They sang through the first verse and the chorus with Isaac happily singing with them.
On the second verse, everything changed.
Three male vocalists joined First Call on the stage, and Isaac began growling. He jumped off the sofa and ran to me. I knelt down to ask him what was wrong (don’t we all ask our pets human-like questions?). Isaac barked in my face. I looked out the window, thinking that surely he saw a cat or other disturbance outside, but there was nothing. He kept on barking, looking from me to the TV.
Could it be that he didn’t like those three guys joining in “Undivided”?
I paused the DVD. He stopped barking. I clicked “rewind,” and the three vocalists backed off the stage in reverse. We were back to the original members of First Call. I clicked play. Isaac immediately calmed down and went back to watching.
I’m enough of a realist to know that my dog could have reacted to the louder volume and increased “noise” of the song.
I’m also enough of a practical theologian to know that God can use everyday occurrences to provide fresh, spiritual insights.
Isaac’s barking caused me to click rewind, which led me to pay attention to the words of a song I’d mostly forgotten. While listening, alll I could think about was how “not undivided” we are in many ways, especially in the Church.
What divides us so easily are issues and opinions. What “un-divides” us is the person of Jesus Christ. Un-division begins in the heart and spills into our churches, our organizations, our relationships. So does division. Our first call as believers is to get our hearts in the original state God intended: as undivided, “worshipping one Savior, one Lord, bound by His Spirit forevermore.” Too often we think too much with our heads and trust too little from our hearts. How differently might we interact if we focused on getting our hearts undivided first?
Isaac wanted to go back to the “original First Call.” So do I. In order to do so, worship must come first in our churches. The Word must come first in our lives. Jesus, “the bond that will remain,” must come first in all.
Let us humble ourselves before God Almighty, who calls us, loves us, and un-divides us.
all good things to each of you,
Note: My sincerest apologies to Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, and Wayne Watson for Isaac’s barking at your lovely voices. I owned cassette tapes by all of you at one time and still think you’re great.
Another Note: Enjoy these two recordings of the same song, 30 years apart.