The Celebration Choir at Little Flock Baptist Church is combining their voices with the worship team, worship band, an orchestra, and a cast of “thousands” (maybe it was only 20 or 30 actors and directors – just seemed like thousands). Their efforts will produced “Gloria” on Sunday, December 12 at 6 pm at Little Flock on Preston Highway in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. I got a sneak preview on Thursday during dress rehearsal. I first went to the balcony and enjoyed the birds-eye view with the media team. During the second full run-through, I sat in the pew like a congregant, tapping my feet to the rhythms, moving to the groove of Swinging to the Sounds, and feeling worshipful during songs like No Eye Has Seen and Offering.
But my favorite song of the musical is the choral version of The Little Drummer Boy. The original song was written in 1958 by pianist Katherine Davis. It tells a story of a small boy who has nothing to give to the baby Jesus except his one talent, playing the drum.
The choir sings a very special arrangement of The Little Drummer Boy. Tim Gipson, Sunday morning worship leader and percussionist, joins the choir for the solo part. He shares the spotlight with Adam Johnson who portrays the drummer boy. The pièce de resistance is when members of the drum line from Louisville Male High School (Tim’s day job includes teaching these amazing musicians) marches down the sanctuary aisles and up the stairs of the stage, playing with precision force the Pa rum pum pum pums. It gives me goose bumps!
Now I’ve heard some controversy over using this particular song in a worship musical because it isn’t exactly Biblical. I’d like to present a case to the contrary.
Somewhere about in the middle of the song, young Adam sings so sweetly, “I’ll play for you.” The choir and Tim later echoe the same promise. The phrase holds much meaning for me, perhaps in part because I am a musician. Playing for the service of the Lord has been my life since I was thirteen years old. It is almost as natural as breathing. I married a musician, I birthed a musician, and now I’m teaching my three grandchildren to be musicians.
But one does not have to be a musician or a singer or in the marching band to find meaning in the phrase, “I’ll play for you.”
There are dear people all around who are “playing their drums” for Jesus. They are sending prayer requests through email. They are bringing food to those who’ve had surgery or a death in the family. They are making an encouraging call or sending a card. They are stuffing church bulletins. They are buying presents for children who won’t have Christmas otherwise. They are giving to the Salvation army. They are filling shoe boxes with everyday essentials for Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. They are serving at the Dare to Care building. They are going on mission trips. They are preaching, teaching, giving, loving, care giving, and multiple other tasks that show the love of God to a lost and dying world.
Come they told me, Pa rum pum pum pum, a new born King to see, Pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, Pa rum pum pum pum, to lay before the king, Pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
So to honor Him, Pa rum pum pum pum, when we come.
Little baby . . . I am a poor boy, too . . . I have no gift to bring . . . that’s fit to give our King . . . Shall I play for you . . . on my drum?
Mary nodded . . . The ox and lamb kept time . . . I played my drum for Him . . . I played my best for Him . . .
Then He smiled at me, Pa rum pum pum pum, me and my drum.”
No matter what “drum” you are playing for the Savior this Christmas season, play it loud. Play it clear. Play it so all the world will hear. Christ the Lord is born! He came to seek and to save those who are lost. He calls us to do what He did, give of ourselves, give the gifts we have been given, give them in His name.
Then He smiles at us.
(The Little Drummer Boy as perfomed at Little Flock last year, 2009)
What drum are you playing this year for Jesus? Leave a comment. I love hearing from you.