Down’s Syndrome Man Sings to the Lord

I am not sure I have ever heard a more beautiful sound. I am also not sure I have ever heard a person sing more off key. And that says a lot, because I sing so off key that I am embarrassed to sing in a church. But the man with Down’s Syndrome who listens to me preach – when he’s awake for it, that is – sings so off key that I sound like an angel in comparison. Only I am no angel, and this man surely must sing with a chorus of angels in heaven.

He doesn’t speak, not much anyway. I can’t understand him when he does. He rarely says anything, and pulling words from him is like pulling teeth. I confess I pretty much gave up once I found out he knows the Lord. But I don’t blame him for not bothering to say much. He doesn’t just live in an assisted living facility with another family member. He lives in another world. He lives in a world people probably assume is devoid of anything intelligent, anything significant, anything worth writing home about. For he does not seem to relate to the world around him, and I can only imagine that most people – myself included until not too very long ago – probably think he’s missing out.

But when he sings with God’s angels, I know who is missing out. People like me who become so busy with the things and people and cares of this world that it’s far too easy to miss out on what really matters. The Lord. And worshiping Him. Worshiping the Lord. Like this man with Down’s Syndrome does.

A few times now, I have arrived in the little assisted living library where I preach to find one of the nurse’s aides leading the group of people with wheelchairs and walkers and hearing aids in songs of worship. And though so few of the people there join in singing to the Lord, there is one in the crowd who never fails to bellow out sounds that make no sense to humans. But sounds so full of joy, so replete with praise, that I wonder now what God must think of all the preparation that goes into fancy choruses and choirs when it can be as simple as this.

Unlike the world, unlike myself, the man who surely sings with God’s angels doesn’t care what anybody thinks. He doesn’t care that he couldn’t be any more off tune. He doesn’t care that he doesn’t sing with words anyone might understand. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks, or what anyone has to say. But none of this is any of his concern anyway.

I do not believe this man with Down’s Syndrome sings for the world. I believe he sings for the Lord. He doesn’t live in tune with the world, nor does he worry about singing in tune with it. Given how much of my life I have wasted worrying about what others think, and for how very long I judged and looked down up on people who seemed different, how humbled I am to receive this reminder that God didn’t create His children to sing, and to live, in tune with the world around us.

He created us to live, and to sing, in tune with Him.

I just got off the telephone with a dear friend who is purchasing a portable CD player and earphones for this man who sings to the Lord. This way, he can sing along to hymns to the Lord as often as he desires.

While I, and others, continue this journey through life learning one humbling lesson after another that the greatest joy is not found in looking and sounding like the world. The greatest joy is found in worshiping the Lord.

“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” 1 Chronicles 16:29 KJV

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11 KJV

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