Yes as promised I am back at least for Easter. This is the opening of our before Easter program at the nursing home. Christ arose is one of my very favorite hymns, maybe because it is one of those written for men with low voices to sing. I don’t let an Easter pass without trying to sing it at least once.
Written in 1873 by Francis Havergal this hymn is more than mere words. The message of her surrender to God’s will resonated through more than the melody. Four years after writing this hymn Francis Havergal donated all her considerable jewelry to a mission organization. Here are her own words, “The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the Church Missionary”
There is no greater peace than can be found in such surrender and no worship more pure than when we truly yield to God our life that He may chose for us the path ahead!
Our hymn for Sunday morning this week is the classic, “The Old Rugged Cross” This powerful song was written by George Bennard and first performed by him with guitar accompaniment in 1913. “The Old Rugged Cross” has been a part of communion services, revivals and altar calls for over a hundred years.What a blessing to sing along the simple yet profound lyrics!
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary
A wondrous beauty I see
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To pardon and sanctify me
In the previous post I was remembering our Hymn-sing days, when the local churches would gather on one Sunday afternoon a month. We sang men’s and women’s parts on many of the hymns. This hymn today is one of those tailor made for that on the chorus. There is something timeless as you sing and then bathe in the echo of the reply. It was always a packed church on the Hymn-sing Sundays.The precious memories remain a treasure for me after more than 40 years. Anyone else have recollection of this please feel free to share!
Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You! Psalm 67:5
Earlier this year I shared a Rose Fyleman poem that I had set to music for a lullaby to our small children to which I added two verses and a chorus. I was so happy and surprised to see the number of people who seemed to enjoy this children’s song. Besides the U.S. and Canada,we had viewers in France, Libya, Australia and the Philippines. So here is a slightly better though not professional recording with a slide show. I pray you will be blessed.
As we waited for the baptisms to begin the church gathered by the side of the stream and sang. While the notes gently lifted above the gentle sound of the water passing over the rocks a moment of faith was commemorated. Those who had come to be baptized would always remember the songs sung that day. The songs gave a voice to their invisible faith.
Why is it that singing seems to tune our spiritual antenna to hear the sounds of heaven? What is it about music that makes a connection in our hearts to those worshiping around us? In fact if we were to open our hymn books and the Biblical hymnal, called the Psalms,we would find that the history of God’s people is inscribed page by page with their songs.
Though music is a gift which like any other can be used outside of its God given purpose, it is also a vehicle by which we may discover the presence of our Lord. The musical staff is in some ways like Jacob’s ladder (staircase in some translations). On that stairway were angels descending and ascending to God who stood at its top. Our voices, when linked with our faith can join with the notes as they ascend and bring from our hearts a message of praise which God hears. On that same staircase comes echoing down in return the voice of our Father which calms every storm, awakens new joy and reminds us of the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
Singing is in fact an act of faith. When we open our mouth to sing we both connect back to our first childlike step of faith and strain forward towards our heavenly goal. We cannot see yet what heaven will be but the accompaniment of angels’ songs can draw us forward. I am reminded of a dear elderly saint who was found passed out on the floor by her sister. The ambulance was called and Florence was taken to the hospital where after several days she regained her strength and returned home. Florence told us that while she was unconscious she began to hear the angels singing and felt them coming closer. She said that the song grew louder and louder but then suddenly it faded and then she opened her eyes and woke up. Since she had grown up in the Polish church I was interested to know if God would have His angels singing in her childhood language or in English. But Florence said it was in neither language rather in some heavenly tongue which was completely different from anything she knew!
I have never forgotten Florence’s angels and their heavenly song. I sometimes wish that one day day I will be singing here and that if I should die in that moment that I would be able to finish the last verse in Heaven. God has given us song for just such an encouragement and a help for our faith. Just as faith without works is dead, faith without words is yet unborn. Is there any greater catalyst to our confession of faith than the music of the hymns? It is a new day today for each of us. Wherever you are or whatever you face you have a choice to sing and give voice to your faith.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Love the video made to go with this happy song!