“Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” Psalm 47:1
I remember the day Jesus saved me.
I remember my wedding day.
I remember the birth of my two children.
And I’ll always remember April 8, 2012, the day of Easter at Benaroya Hall.
For me, the most amazing part of that day was not that 3,000 people got to gather in one of our city’s most beautiful cultural centers in the heart of the city—It was something I heard, something that has been ringing in my ears for the past year:
Last year on Easter, I heard something that sounded like heaven. We had practiced tirelessly for the event, but nothing could have prepared me for what I heard in the first measure of the first song we played that day.
The concert hall was meticulously designed so that an orchestra could play without amplification, be heard by thousands of people, and sound crystal clear. Apparently, that design doesn’t just work to amplify the sound of the musicians for the audience—it amplifies the voices of the people in the crowd as well. As it turns out, 3,000 people singing at the top of their lungs in that room sounded like thunder!
The sound of the voices of our church family on that Easter Sunday was so loud that it shocked me. It was so loud that I could not hear myself over the people. My ears rang at times. There were times when I couldn’t hear myself think. There were moments in the music sets where I forgot what my job was supposed to be and I just stood in awe. The steep, sloped seating and the four balconies formed a wall of roaring people and, as I looked up at it, I felt like I was standing at the bottom of a waterfall of saints singing.
Why saints shout
And what could elicit such a roaring display of human voices? Only one thing, the most important thing—the best thing: the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15:3–4: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day.” Only Jesus could elicit a response that is an echo of what you will hear in heaven. He is our reason for singing loud. The resurrection is an occasion for shouting.
The ear-shattering sound of response to Jesus rumbled through our city like an earthquake last Easter, but it didn’t stop there. I’ve heard that familiar sound many times in the past year. As the worship director at the Downtown Seattle church, I get the joy of witnessing God’s people respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ with resounding singing every week. It continues to get even louder. This Easter will be the loudest yet.
Let’s get our voices ready for heaven!
Amazingly, in December our church moved into possibly one of the only buildings in Dowtown Seattle with better acoustics than Benaroya: an old cathedral, built in 1908 by Seattle’s original church congregation. The first time our community sang in that room together this past December, I had a flashback to April 8, 2012. I was overwhelmed by the sound. I heard a glimpse of heaven again. If you were there at Fifth and Marion on Christmas Eve, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We ended the service with about 15 minutes of totally a cappella singing and once again, those voices foreshadowed what we will be doing in heaven.
This Easter, we will respond to Jesus’ resurrection again with loud singing. May the sound of our response to his resurrection be the loudest thing this city has ever heard! Let’s shout at the top of our lungs and get our voices ready for heaven!
“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.’” Revelation 19:6
This Easter, a 100-person choir will join the band Ghost Ship in leading worship at Mars Hill Downtown Seattle. If you are a singer, it’s not too late to join. Sign up here.
You can hear and download recordings from the Downtown Seattle church’s Easter celebration last year here. Additionally, enjoy these clips below, from two years ago, when all our regional churches gathered for Easter at Qwest Field.