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Trouble in the Amen Corner

Every time I hear either Porter Wagoner or Jim Reeves sing this song tears come to my eyes. I remember a dear friend from over 30 years ago. His name was John. He sang in a voice that was soft and low in a church choir. He sang out of tune, but the love of his Lord that shone out of John’s voice touched me deeply.

The old man with hair as white as snow remains a special memory in my heart. He was always kind to me. He always smiled in a way that said you were someone he wanted to know.

Brother Ira sang with a voice that grated on the nerves of the church choir. He no longer measured up as being an acceptable  choir member. The songs he preffered to sing were  100 years old. He clearly was behind the times in the estimation of the other choir members. They were far too concerned about how he was messing up their singing. Either Brother Ira goes or we all resign. This happened to John too. He just quietly stepped down from singing in the choir.

Just before Brother Ira dies he says to the church committee with directness,”Wonder when If I try to sing the songs of God up higher reckon they’ll kick me out up there for singin’ in Heaven’s choir?”

John is singing the songs of God up higher where there are no church committees and no fashionable choirs.

I have included the lyrics for you.

Trouble in the Amen Corner

It was a stylish congregation you could see they’d been around
And they had the biggest pipe organ of any church in town
But over in the Amen Corner of that church sat Brother Ira
And he insisted every Sunday on singing in the choir
His voice was cracked and broken age had touched his vocal chords
And nearly every Sunday he’d get behind and miss the words
Well at last the storm cloud burst and the church was told in vine
That Brother Ira must stop his singing or the choir was gonna resign
So the pastor appointed a committee I think it was three or four
And they got their big fine car and drove up to Ira’s door
They found the choir’s great trouble sittin’ in an old arm chair
And the summer’s golden sunbeams lay upon his snow white hair
Said York we’re here dear Brother with the best resapprobation
To discuss a little matter that affects the congregation
Now it was our understanding when we bargained for the chair
That they were to relieve us that is they’d do the singin’ for us
Now we don’t want no singin’ except what we’ve bought
The newest tunes are all the rage the old ones stand for nought
And so we have decided are you listenin’ Brother Ira
You’ll have to stop your singin’ it’s messin’ up our choir
The old man raised his head a sign that he did hear
And on his cheek the three men caught the glitter of a tear
His feeble hands pushed back the locks as white as silky snow
And he answered the committee in a voice both soft and low
I’ve sung the songs of David nearly eighty years said he
They’ve been my staff and comfort all along life’s dreary way
I’m sorry if I disturved the choir I guess I’m doin’ wrong
But when my heart is filled with praise I can’t hold back a song
I wonder if beyond the tide that’s breaking at my feet
In that far off heavenly temple where my Master I shall meet
Yes I wonder if when I try to sing the songs of God up higher
I wonder if they’ll kick me out up there for singin’ in Heaven’s choir
A silence filled the little room the old man bowed his head
The committee went on back to town but Brother Ira was dead
Oh the choir missed him for a while but he was soon forgot
And a few church goers watched the door but the old man entered not
Far away his voice is sweet and he sings his heart’s desire
Where there are no church committees and no fashionable choirs