The Enchanted Tiki Room: We Need a Song!
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Destination D: Disneyland ’55 event at the Disneyland Hotel. The end of Day 1 was “E-Ticket: Music from Disney Parks”, featuring Richard Sherman. During his portion of the program, Richard reminisced, played songs, and told stories of his days writing music for Walt Disney and Disneyland with his brother, Robert.
In one of those stories, he talked about one day when Walt called the Sherman brothers and told them he had something to show them. He took them into an area (part of one of the soundstages on the Disney lot, I believe) and showed them some of the Audio Animatronics for what was to become Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. He showed Richard and Robert some of the figures, what they did, and so on.
Richard said, “That’s great, Walt. But what is it?” Walt replied, “That’s exactly why you’re here! Nobody understands what this is! I need you to write a song to explain this to people!” And from that, the Sherman Brothers’ first song written exclusively for the theme park, The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room was born. Two days later, I sat in the Tiki Room show thinking, “This song really does exactly what Walt asked for. This song tells you everything you need to know about what’s supposed to be happening here.”
In my experience, I’ve noticed that we often focus on Bible study, small group or Sunday School curriculum, or the pastor’s sermon to be the “teaching part” of our spiritual development. The music is the “worship” part, and if we give any thought to it at all, it’s because of how it makes us feel.
But the truth is, the songs we sing can be an important part of “explain this!” There are complex theological concepts that when expressed well in song make their way deeper into our hearts than any lecture or sermon could take them. There are lessons and reminders of God’s love, grace, justice, mercy, faithfulness–and our need for all of those–that resonate deeply within us because of the songs that we sing. Sometimes, there are even lessons that are conveyed as clearly in song as in any spoken word. In fact, when you get right down to it, you can summarize the Christian faith and life fairly accurately–and without missing much crucial truth–with this:
Remember, The Psalms are the hymnbook, the songbook, of the Children of Israel. Songs are important enough that there is an entire book of the Bible devoted just to them, and many other books have songs in them as well.
Is teaching important? Sure. Is study necessary? Absolutely. But let us not forget the value of songs, and of singing together. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
Sometimes we just “need a song to explain this!”
What songs “explain this” for you? Talk about it in the comments.