The Rainbow Of Colors So Merry And Bright!


A number of years ago the Saints United Voices Choir directed by Gladys Knight came to our town. The program and testimonies presented were beautiful, but I suspect it was different from what most people in attendance were used to hearing. Presented were songs of worship popular in the African-American community like “Amazing Grace” and others; from the Spanish community in a song called “Via Dolorosa,” and even a couple of songs from the Polynesian culture. By combining these songs along with a few traditional European Protestant hymns, it truly was a choir that was unified. Gladys Knight and her husband gave testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ which were uplifting, humorous, and spiritual. I wondered how many of our long-time members of my church felt uneasy with the music. Certainly most of the numbers were not the type that would be sung in our standard meetings, but nevertheless were spiritual in nature and could bring a person closer to Christ. Sometimes it is hard for us to think “outside of the box.”

Over twenty years ago I received a phone call from a brother of the church asking if I would address a group of members who were meeting in a small row home in one of the poorer parts of the city.  As I entered into the house on that Sunday for services I was greeted most warmly by a senior missionary couple.  One of the brothers was serving as a “group leader,” and he conducted the services. There were about fifteen African-American members in attendance. The seating consisted of a variety of chairs from lawn,  to wicker, to folding metal.  They would come to symbolize for me, the rainbow of seats available at the feast of the King.

The meeting began in the traditional way with an opening hymn, prayer, announcements,  and then the passing of the sacrament. A brother than spoke for about ten minutes and did a fine job. He bore a strong but simple testimony. The words weren’t elegant, but the spirit was rich. Next a white brother, who had been invited from another congregation specifically to perform, stood, and without music,  started to sing one of our hymns. As he ended the first verse and started the second, I noticed that a few members around me started to loudly hum along with the hymn. Occasionally they would even break out and sing a few words,  and then return again to humming. I looked at the soloist and he seemed not to care or mind.  I remember thinking how strange this was, and I glanced at the Senior sister missionary who was in attendance. She gave me a big smile. I smiled back. For a moment, I felt amused by the whole thing. I mean, I wasn’t used to members of the congregation just…well joining in without invitation. Inside I smiled and listened as, by the third verse, the entire congregation had joined the once-soloist in singing the hymn.  They couldn’t contain themselves and had just started singing, spontaneously,  without invitation.  This was new to me. I had never seen a congregation just arbitrarily join in.  But it seemed so natural to the saints in attendance that day. My amusement soon gave way to reverence as I looked around the room at the faces of those singing.  They were smiling and singing the hymn with great vigor and loud accord!  Soon I felt tears well up in my eyes as the spirit of the Lord poured out onto my soul. It was a profoundly moving spiritual experience and one I have never forgotten.

I have since reflected on that experience many times. The poet Lagaya Evans wrote these words in a poem entitled “The Rainbow.”

The rainbow of colors

So merry and bright

Each color has a purpose

Even black and white

A gold pot awaits all men who sincerely love the Lord. The gospel of Jesus Christ has room for all who worship Him, no matter what sex,  race, color or creed. Its message of hope and inspiration is universal, and its saving grace knows no bounds. May we all join hands in becoming true brothers and sisters in Christ our Lord.

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