Singing the gospel

Tags: Asia, Japan, Story

Oh happy day! Oh happy day! When Jesus washed my sins away!”

Our 24-member Gospel Choir sings these words with much enthusiasm, bright smiles and animated rhythm, but sadly more than half of the singers have never experienced this kind of happy day. They really have no clue what it means to have their sins washed away by Jesus.

Black Gospel music has become quite popular among many Japanese people. Most of the songs are sung in English, of which the participants usually have only a limited understanding. Many lyrics have a strong biblical message, but even if the words are understood, the spiritual meaning often is not grasped. What an amazing opportunity for the family of God to embrace this phenomenon and use it as a means to share Jesus with the Japanese!

Our church started a Gospel Choir about three years ago. Personally, I was not interested in joining, as the style of music is really not what I prefer! But when several ladies from my English class wanted to participate, I realized God was giving me another unique opportunity to share life with them.

And so we go to Gospel Choir practices at the church twice a month. We work on pronunciation and memorize the lyrics during English class at our home. And we go on to talk about what those lyrics mean, sometimes using a Bible story to illustrate the message.

When we start learning a new song, our pastor explains the scriptural basis of the lyrics to the whole choir. Gospel Choir has become a unique and unexpected way to teach God’s Word to people who would never listen otherwise.

And we are singing God’s praises after one Gospel Choir member, Mr. Nagi, confessed faith in Christ through baptism this spring – the first fruit of the Gospel Choir ministry!

My prayer for the Gospel Choir members comes from 1 Thessalonians 1:5, “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” Would you join us in this prayer? It seems to me that it would be ever so much more satisfying to sing “Oh happy day” if each individual could know from experience what it means to have his or her sins washed away through the Lord Jesus!