the most beautiful song

Brother Dewey’s rich baritone blended beautifully with the sound of our church choir, yet a careful listener could pick out the warm, mellow tones of his voice. Standing a row in front of him, I was always in a prime spot to do just that. I loved listening to him sing. And, oh, he did love to sing! Rarely ever missing a Wednesday night practice or a Sunday morning service, he seemed to have such a heart for worship and for the choir.

Then an illness became serious for him, requiring a surgery that left him without a voice, without the chance of ever having a voice again.

I know for myself – if it were me with no voice – that would be a devastating thing to face. I cannot NOT sing. I could never NOT sing. Singing is as necessary to me as speaking or eye contact. This was heartbreaking.  Yes, we all prayed for his healing and recovery, but those of us who knew how much singing in the choir meant to him also prayed for all he would grieve in the loss of his voice.

News came that he was making progress and doing well. One Sunday morning several weeks later, I saw him in a church pew about halfway back. A buzz of excited whispers whipped around the choir loft. “Look! Dewey’s here!” Although he appeared a bit thinner and a little pale, that sweet smile was just the same.

Everyone stood for the first hymn. It was easy to keep an eye on him because of his height, that crown of white hair catching the light from the tall windows. I don’t remember which hymn we sang; I was completely unable to get beyond a few opening notes. I could only watch Brother Dewey.

His face lifted up, he sang every word, knowing them all by heart, every harsh and rasping note sounding no different than the one before. His eyes shone with emotion, and his face was radiant with more than just light.

Holding nothing back, he sang.

With no voice, he sang.

It was the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Or maybe I should say have ever seen.

In that moment, I knew with a deep certainty, that this was the song that heaven heard. His was the song that the angels must have bent low to hear. His was the song that would bring a smile to our Father’s heart.

This is the way I want to sing.


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15 Responses to the most beautiful song

  1. Taylor says:

    What a beautiful story! No matter what life does to us, we never have to give up our passions.

    • Jonnia says:

      The song comes from the heart anyway. The voice is only an embellishment.

      Thank you for leaving a note, Taylor!

  2. Oh, how I can relate. My life was singing. I served for years as music director in my churches, I have a degree in music and theater, I sang at Carnegie Hall, and I thought I could never live without my singing. The Lord had other plans for me. Damaged vocal chords quietened my song several years ago. I thought I would never survive. I admit there are times when tears fill my eyes because I can’t be a part of a vocal celebration of God. It burns in my heart. But… by losing my voice, the Lord reminded me of my first love, writing. I had put it aside to sing. Singing was a selfish thing for me. It gave ME joy, it gave ME applause, it gave ME fulfillment. My writing is to give God joy, applause and fulfillment. I still pray he will return my voice to me. I must be content to know that eternity will release me from this time of silence. In my heart, I still sing.

  3. jonnia says:

    And you know that the One who counts most hears it clearly.
    Thank you for sharing this, Karen. I, for one, am so glad you write!

  4. This post was so beautiful. I could almost hear him singing myself. Lovely.

  5. Frieda Dixon says:

    “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” – When we do that it is music to God’s ears.

  6. Miriam says:

    Simply beautiful!!! I want to sing true voiceless praise too…a lifelong journey, and the best one!
    Thank you!

    • Jonnia says:

      You are most welcome, Miriam. A “lifelong journey” is a great way to look at this – daily, moment by moment. Thank you for finding your way here!

  7. CLemmie Turner says:

    Jonnia,thank you for all your encouragement and for taking on the choir.I am so grateful .I know I have a lot of work to do,but it will all be worth it.There’s within my heart a melody…………….and no off button .With much joy and love Clemmie

    • jonnia says:

      “no off button” I love that!!!
      You give me more encouragement than I could possibly give you, Clemmie! Some work is just too enjoyable to be called work. Know what I mean?


    I wish I could have been there to experience Bro. Dewey’s worship song. For sure, I will never forget the inspiration provided by this beautiful account. Thanks for sharing it with such feeling.

    • jonnia says:

      Thanks for reading, Lorraine, and for taking time to leave me a note.

      Having a thing or two in common, I think you would have liked him very much!

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