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Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

Here's what it's all about sans GB

This precious photo takes me back to 1962, when our daughters, Laura and Debbie, plus our son, Eric, reenacted an historical event which needs no explanation—as a part of our Christmas Eve celebration at home.

We had another daughter, Judy, somewhere around—and a real live baby, Karl, who for some reason was not available at the moment, so a doll took the place of Baby Jesus.¬† Obviously we overlooked the fact that we had no boy doll to fill in the gap. ūüôā

I think some of our children understood the Christmas message better than I did in 1962.  Children can be so receptive to the simplicity of it all!

I was reminded of this last evening, at our church’s annual special Christmas worship:¬† Scripture readings from the Genesis 3:15 first mention of our Messiah, prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus from Micah and Isaiah, the beautiful account of Jesus’s birth in the Gospel of Luke, and the joyous climax in the book of Revelation when God’s glorified people will be worshipping the Lamb Who was slain—KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.¬† All of the readings were interspersed with the singing of beloved Christmas Carols.¬† As a finale, we lit our individual candles and sang “Silent Night”.

It brought tears to my eyes, to think that people all over the world would be replicating this service of worship and adoration:¬† people of countless denominations, in many languages and in every possible setting—be it a cathedral, church, public venue, or at home either in safety and comfort or at risk of arrest, incarceration, and/or torture and possibly death.¬† Scriptures, carols, and candlelight.

When singing the carols, I thought of all of you who may be reading this blog—brothers and sisters in Christ in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal. Australia, New Zealand, India, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Gabon, South Africa, Afghanistan, and other places around the world.¬† All lighting candles and singing praises to the Lord Jesus Who is the Light of the World!

Today we are united in love, through His Holy Spirit.¬† Someday we will be united in person, praising our LORD OF LORDS, KING OF KINGS—thanks to His message of Salvation, Redemption, and Eternal Life:¬† a message so beautifully simple that even a receptive child can understand and believe it.

To all of you readers, wherever you are, I pray you will have a blessed Christmas!

Margaret L. Been — December 22, 2018 ¬†

Note:  I am adding Ghana, Russia, Turkey, and Switzerland to the above international list.  Welcome friends!!! 

 

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winter spinning wheel yes

In the midst of an inspiring and motivating series of exegetical teaching and preaching through the book of Revelation, our pastor has given us a fourteen day challenge to read and meditate on Revelation 21:1-8 and Romans 8:18-25.

This assignment resonates with me, especially for two reasons:¬† 1) Meditating has been a huge part of my life ever since I can recall.¬† As a kid, I sought out places where I could be alone so that I could daydream, sulk, or process the people and events in my life—whether on the back staircase of our rambling Victorian home or in the branches of an aged chestnut tree where I thought no one could see me; and 2) ever since The Lord Jesus Christ catapulted me into His Kingdom nearly fifty years ago, I have sought to process events and circumstances through the truths of Scripture.¬† Whenever I have failed to keep a Scriptural focus, God has either gently or firmly riveted my mind back where it belongs:¬† on Him!*

God has programmed my DNA, genes, or whatever, to absolutely need periods of solitude—thinking time in which to meditate, process, and grow;¬† it boggles my mind that anyone, particularly a Christian, would not want to implement periods of meditative solitude into his or her life.

Many women of my generation (Great Depression and World War II kids) have been free to center on that precious vocation which Titus 2:5 refers to as “keepers at home”. ¬† Long before I became a Christian, I knew that being at home was the most wonderful privilege imaginable, and I was thankful.

While raising six children, I was free to manage and appropriate time for reading, thinking, and growing.¬† Our first five were born in a span of eight years, and they understood that I had a “quiet time” most every day, normally at my typewriter where I solidified my meditations into poems and essays on paper.

Throughout the years I have found home keeping, with its myriad of hands-on chores, to be a perfect environment for meditating.  There is something valuable in doing the routine household tasks:  ironing, scrubbing a floor, dusting furniture, polishing the silver, or sparkling up the glassware and china.  The rewards therein are obvious:  satisfaction from a job well done and the visual pleasure of seeing the results, along with the profitable thinking time involved.

Adding to necessary chores, I have enjoyed other hands-on tasks such as making music on my piano (such as it is), soap making, gardening, canning, spinning fleece into yarn, for many years weaving the yarn into cloth, weaving baskets, kneading bread (something I no longer do in light of limited food requirements at this stage of life), painting with a plethora of media, nurturing houseplants, and my ubiquitous knitting.

The above activities provide a perfect atmosphere for meditation.  I believe it is tragic that so many younger women today are no longer based at home where they are free to work with their hands, and process their lives through times of quiet meditation.

Also sad, is the fact that some Christians have a skewed idea of the word “meditation”.¬† Too often they consider only the “New Age** implications, such as yoga and the emptying of the mind.¬† I cannot comprehend “meditating” without something of significance on which to focus.¬† Even when sleeping, our minds are doing something—at least I hope so.

And for the Christian, quietness and the implications of meditation are Scripturally mandated—as seen in the following examples:

“. . . meditate within your heart upon your bed, and be still . . . .”¬† Psalm 4:4 NKJV

“Be still and know that I am God . . . .” ¬† Psalm 46:10 NKJV

“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands.”¬† Psalm 143;5 NKJV

(Regarding the study of doctrine and obedient living) “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.”¬† I Timothy 4:15 NKJV

Thus in upcoming entries, I hope to share some of the insights and areas of application which the Holy Spirit has placed upon my heart and mind through the fourteen day challenge of meditating on the above assigned Scripture passages.  Please pray that I will be diligent!

Margaret L Been — December 10th, 2018

*Ever since my salvation, although certainly not always obedient, I have never doubted God’s sovereignty in my life.¬† He has not allowed me to doubt Him.¬† Clearly, He has known me and my every thought and deed from Eternity Past to Infinity and¬†He has constantly made this evident in my life.

I could bring nothing to the table of salvation: the Lord did all of that.¬† It was GRACE plus nothing.¬† He holds me, ever dealing with my wayward whims, disobedient actions, and unloving mental attitudes.¬† Indeed, God’s GRACE is irresistible and ever present!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.¬† For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”¬† Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV

**New Age” ideas and practices are really “Old Age”, derived from ancient and current Eastern mystical religions and teachings.

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Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet.JPG

“My soul melts from heaviness. Strengthen me according to Your word.” Psalm 119:28 NKJV ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

Characteristically, my blog essays deal with victory over trials‚ÄĒthe victory of the indwelling Jesus Christ via His Holy Spirit.¬† At all times God‚Äôs spiritual attributes reside in my soul, as well in the souls of all who belong to Him.¬† When and if we focus on the Lord through His Word, His love, peace, and joy will flow from us.

Yet, in my zeal to reflect and express the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, it has occurred to me that I sometimes overlook or downplay the blatant fact of our universally shared humanity.

Yes, we have victory.¬† Yes, God is all powerful, and He provides all we need for wherever He has placed us to serve and honor Him.¬† But also, ‚Äúyes‚ÄĚ we are human‚ÄĒbroken vessels, vulnerable to pain and sorrow, prone to seasons of weeping.

We are not unfeeling robots, mechanically spewing out truths through a plastic, pasted-on smile.  We are people.  Sometimes we CRY!  If we never cried, we would never be qualified to come alongside another grieving individual who needs a quiet, understanding friend.

Jesus wept for His beloved friend, Lazarus.  Jeremiah wept for his sinful, fallen nation.  And numerous Psalmists wept over their own pain and sorrow.  Sometimes WE weep, yes even for OURSELVES.

Recently I had a lapse of weeping for myself.¬† Right in the midst of a series of victory laps where God‚Äôs palpable presence and joy had prevailed, I succumbed to tears for my self‚ÄĒas currently I literally have only one leg to stand on.¬† As if my mini-infirmity matters at all in the vast scheme of things.

As I wept tears of frustration, knowing all the time that God is in control and He will never leave me comfortless, it dawned on me that I was weeping not just for my invalid self but also for the lost, pain ridden world.  In this sudden flood of tears, God reinforced the fact that I am not a robot, nor am I beyond or above the pathos of the human race!

Yes, we have victory in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Yes, He will never forsake us.  And yes, we are humans saved by Grace.  As sinners saved by Grace we are never to lose our capacity to love and come alongside the shared sorrow of humanity.  When we are broken, when our strength is revealed as utter and absolute weakness, God shines through in all His glory.

‚ÄúFor it is God Who commanded light to shine out of darkness, Who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.¬† But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of God and not of ourselves.¬† We are hard pressed on either side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed‚ÄĒalways carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body.¬† 2 Corinthians 4:6-10 NKJV

Margaret L. Been ‚ÄĒ¬† December 2nd, 2018

(First published on November 19th in my blog:¬† GOD’S WORD IS TRUE)

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Coming Home (2).jpg

Jesus’ last words, recorded by the beloved Disciple, John, should fill us with wonder, awe, and gratitude beyond words to express!¬† “It is finished!”

Our Lord’s proclamation is the affirmation of our salvation.¬† His sacrificial death in which He took all the sin of the world, from beginning to end, liberates me—has exonerated me, and all who believe in Jesus’ finished work, from all the condemnation that we deserve.

Then, after dying to pay the unspeakably enormous price of our sin, Jesus rose—alive and triumphant—defeating the power of death.¬† Those who have trusted Christ for their salvation share in His Resurrection Life.¬† He has given us His Holy Spirit, and we are a new creation in Him!

Back in January of 1971, when the Lord Jesus catapulted me into His kingdom, I literally felt like I had been shot out of a cannon—like the lady in the Shrine Circus which our family enjoyed every year when it came to Milwaukee.¬† But the talented and skilled circus performer was simply shot out into the arena for the purpose of entertaining an audience.¬† I was catapulted into the Kingdom of God and Eternal life.

“Catapulted” is the perfect word for my salvation.¬† One moment I was a skeptic steeped in humanism, and suddenly in the next moment I was a child of God.¬† Today, nearly five decades later, I still savor that joy, and sense of sudden freedom, as I contemplate Jesus’ finished work on Calvary, and His Resurrection.

Many people do not recall the moment they were saved.¬† Our youngest son, Karl. was seven years old when I became a believer.¬† I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and our entire family was privy to the GOOD NEWS.¬† Shortly after that great day Karl said, “I don’t know when Jesus came into my heart. I guess He just walked in.”

Obviously Karl had a sweet, open soul and he didn’t need to be catapulted in the fashion of his stubborn, thirty-seven year old mother.¬† God works differently in every life—uniquely customizing the miracle of salvation to each one of us.

It is finished!¬† Those powerful words resonate with me.¬† How often do we fret and obsess over some unfinished task looming over our heads—be it a report or assignment in our workplace, or muddy windows or a closet heaped with disorganized odds and ends at home?¬† The completion of these jobs is sometimes interrupted by immediate concerns which alter our schedule and consume time and energy: the computer freezes, a toothache suddenly has to be fixed, our car dies of old age, or a child throws up.

Life is wonderful, life is GOOD.¬† But we have a fallen planet, someday to be restored when our LORD returns—and at the moment we are living in the “meantime”.¬† The meantime can be a piece of work!

Finally, at the age of 84, I am learning that my “work” will never be finished in my lifetime.¬† There are always more projects lined up on the runway than I have months or years for completion.¬† The daily tasks can be all-consuming, because I love to do everything well.¬† But my hyper-perfectionism died on the Cross with our LORD.¬† It was wood, hay, and stubble compared to simply relaxing in Jesus love, focusing on Him, doing my best, and choosing to glorify Christ in whatever I do—knowing that my life is a process and my work will never be completed while I am still on this fallen earth.

Yes, I stumble, and Yes I am lifted up by His redeeming love.¬† Musicians, the monk, John Michael Talbot, and his brother, Terry Talbot have a beautiful song (among all of their incredibly wonderful compositions) referring to that redemptive love in their album NO LONGER STRANGERS—a song called “We Will Rise”, with these words: “. . . in Him all our failures shall not be defeats, and when we are weak He renews our strength.

How comforting to realize, to understand with all our heart and mind, that the only finished work on earth is that which Jesus did for us on Calvary.  Jesus paid it all!  He is risen.  He is alive.  And it is finished!

Margaret L. Been — March 31st, 2018

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As the clouds grow thicker . . .

Sunday morning sky

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,¬†goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,¬†self-control.¬† Against such there is no law.”¬† Galatians 5:22-23

Have you ever witnessed a crazier pre-election circus?  Has the world ever before seemed to be crowding in so quickly, closer and closer?

Have communications ever been more constant and all-encompassing—inescapable unless one stuffs¬†his or her¬†electronic devices in the back of a remote drawer and¬†goes for a long, solitary walk?¬† Or even better—the very best of all—unless one plunges head first into the depths of God’s ever-faithful, ever beneficial Word!¬† God’s Word is the only place to go for rest, for comprehension, perspective, and power.¬† God’s Word not only mined daily, but stored as¬†priceless treasure¬†for instant, ongoing accessibility and application.

While¬†the clouds grow thicker so does our call, as Christians, not only to share the Gospel of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—but to¬†mirror His indwelling Life, so that the fruit of His Holy Spirit¬†can be seen by all, everywhere we go!¬† In simple terms, we are called today just¬†God’s people were instructed centuries ago:¬† to live the Christian life, as mandated in Galatians 5:22-23.

Not to rant and rave*¬† over all the things that are amiss (although, when watching the news I sometimes forget!)¬† Not to rend our clothes, Old Testament style.¬† Not to scream at¬†those who are “out of line”.¬† And certainly not¬†(even worse!) to scream¬†at those who are in line.

The fruit of the Spirit is the genuine outworking of Christ’s life¬†in us, the “hope” (sure-fire fact!) of glory.¬† Whatever we are doing as the fruit is displayed, and wherever we may be, will differ with each individual whom God calls.¬† As we focus on our Lord,¬†He directs our¬†whatever/wherever.¬†¬†Our “Full time Christian Service” may be public (as in church,¬†missions, or workplace) or private (as in home and/or friendship circles).¬† Both are equally valid and vital.¬† But fruit there must be, if our witness is to be effective.

I have blogged near-volumes on this topic, and God-willing I may continue to write more.¬† The issue is ever-green because (probably like every other believer, and definitely as Paul recorded in his letter to the Romans) I struggle with¬†reflecting God’s fruit—even given prayer and immersion in His Word.¬† Patience (longsuffering) is a bit of a¬†challenge for me; and as we all realize about¬†the fruit of God’s Spirit—we cannot select.¬† We need to present the whole basket.

God knows His own.¬† If¬†I bungle my¬†witness, His own people will still be saved for Eternity; they haven’t lost a thing.¬†¬†And when I refuse to¬†relax and let¬†Jesus display His fruit through me, I am nonetheless still saved for Eternity.¬† But I¬†will have missed the here-and-now blessing that would have come¬†had I been in sync with our Lord in that instance.

Margaret L. Been — March 21, 2016

*The most famous sermon in U.S. history is without a doubt, Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”¬† God used this masterpiece (not only of Scripture truth but of literary construction) to pave the way for the movement of His Holy Spirit in an unprecedented revival on our continent.¬†

Did Jonathan Edwards shout, and rave?  No way.  His delivery was unremarkable, and it has been recorded that he actually read his sermons. 

It was¬†God’s truth in this sermon, not the¬†human vehicle, which set the course of American Christianity from the 1700s on.¬† In fact, had Edwards ranted and raved, his words may never have taken such a profound course.¬† The man might have attracted more attention than the message.¬† God chose a quiet-mannered man for the most spectacular movement of the Holy Spirit in our nation.

Although¬†“Sinners” is the most famous of Edwards’ individual messages, it has been his¬†sermons of joy-filled¬†wonder at the magnificence and beauty of God¬†that theologians (and everyday readers like me) have cherished, found edifying, and re-read¬†again and again for rich spiritual food.¬† MLB

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Us

“Finally, Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”¬† Philippians 4:8

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time as the days are evil.”¬† Ephesians 5:15-16

One would have to be¬†clueless, to doubt the fact that the days are evil.¬† The days¬†have been evil ever since the game-changing fiasco in the garden.¬† But Eden did not have cell phones, a worldwide internet,¬†FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and¬†billions of people—starving, warring, and suffering unspeakable horrors.¬† Eden’s evil was not so sophisticatedly organized, so widely and criminally justified by evil national majorities—so whitewashed to appear humanitarian, reasonable, rational, “kind to the planet” and altruistic, as the¬†convoluted sin¬†of these days.¬† It took¬†thousands of years to get here.

Those of us who prefer keeping our heads in Scripture rather than sand believe we are nearing the book of Revelation, when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth to establish justice and reign in His Holy City, Jerusalem.  No we are not to name the day or the hour.  But YES, we are to watch for the signs prophesied by Old Testament Prophets, the Lord Jesus in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25), and New Testament letters culminating in Jude and Revelation. 

The days are evil, and we are nearing the end of the Church Age.¬† In the words of beloved¬†Christian brother,¬†Francis Schaeffer, “How do we then live?”¬† How am I¬†to respond or react to¬†evil times?¬† Am I to go¬†high stress, slap-dashing about in a fervor of Chicken Little-ish behavior?¬† Wrong!¬† Am I to¬†think about¬†nothing else than the fact that the days are evil?¬† Wrong again!

Am I to eschew beauty and instead fashion a drab, lackluster world around me, an environment which says nothing about creative living?  How horrible is that!

So what is Right?  My quest for an answer always comes back to the above quotes from Philippians and Ephesians, and countless other passages having to do with gracious, Spirit-filled living.  Joyous living.  God is still in charge.  God has always been and will always be in charge.

Yes, we are to speak up and out whenever we can.¬† Yes we are to pray with compassion for those who suffer all over this crazy, convoluted earth.¬† Yet it¬†is still God’s earth.¬† As well as being fully God, Jesus was fully human—modeling the perfect humanity intended for¬†people on earth, until man and woman (not in that order) blew it in the beautiful garden which God had provided for them.

Our Lord Jesus Christ will return, to reign on earth for 1000 years.¬†¬†Scripture predicts a New Heaven and New Earth.¬† Certainly we will not¬†fathom details until they unfold, but nowhere in the Bible is “earth” left out of the equation.¬† God created earth, and He loves His creation.¬† In light of that truth¬†I can only gather that we humans, the most valued of His creation, are to go on living and loving the life He has given us on earth.

That means gratitude rather than gloom.¬† That means serenity rather than stress.¬† That means pure, down-to-earth appreciation for and pleasure in His boundless gifts—people to love, gardens to plant, creative hobbies to pursue, art, music, poetry, sports, sunshine, fresh air, the list is endless.¬† Earth gifts!

There is a pathetic “hangover” from past Christian eras and persuasions which taught that physical and soul pleasures were intrinsically evil.¬† Hence:¬† the monks who starved themselves or didn’t converse with each other, those Christians who wear drab clothing because anything eye-catching might lead to idolatry (or immorality), and believers who avoid the enjoyment of any pastime¬†without blatantly “spiritual” overtones.

Asceticism is NOT BIBLICAL.¬† It NEVER WAS BIBLICAL.¬† Asceticism is¬†a boring, yet potentially devastating ploy¬†invented by the Evil One who—if he cannot get Christians to throw in the towel and quit, will instead lure them into nurturing a sense of pride in not doing this and not enjoying that.*

The¬†paradox here is that¬†within God’s creative, expansive and wholesome arena of “this or that”, we¬†are to¬†walk¬†with joyous confidence; it¬†is¬†the¬†pride inherent in¬†asceticism which God¬†hates, and holds us accountable for.¬† The person who¬†lives by¬†asceticism may be bowing before the idol of pride!

Life on earth is to be loved, savored, celebrated, and enjoyed to the max while never losing sight of our Creator, never forgetting that He is the Creator of all things—every breath we inhale, every flower we plant and gather.¬† With our heads full of God’s “whatsoever things”, our lives will shine out to the lost souls who desperately need¬†to know¬†about our Saviour.¬† As long as God’s people remain on earth (His earth!) and continue to redeem the time, there will be some light, and some good, although the days are evil.

Margaret L. Been — January 26, 2016

(First posted in “God’s Word is True”, September 25, 2015)

*THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, by C.S. Lewis provides a witty and wonderful treatise on the pitfall of asceticism.

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January Sunrise

On the third Sunday in January forty-five years ago, I was catapulted into God’s family by¬†believing in the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ—who was crucified for our sin and resurrected to give to anyone who will believe, His everlasting LIFE!

That¬†January day is etched in my heart and head; never before had the sun been so bright and the snow so pristine¬†white.¬† In the morning I went to a new-to-me church where I heard¬†the Gospel preached.¬† I had heard God’s truth¬†on other occasions, without response.¬† But on that day forty-five years ago, I was ready to believe.¬† It had to be true; there was no other answer to life!

As I walked into the church service on that Sunday, the congregation was singing a hymn—and the sound of that singing shocked me.¬† I’d attended church services in “quiet” Protestant churches all my life.¬† Never before had I heard hymns sung the way that congregation was singing.¬† Suddenly it occurred to me:¬† these people really mean what they are singing!

I believe the hymn singing marked the beginning of my new birth process that day.  When the Gospel message was preached, everything clicked.  It was true, and I knew it.  I was a sinner.  I needed salvation, and the Lord Jesus is real.  He died and rose for me, and now I belonged to Him.  I could sing the hymns, and really mean what I was singing.

How I love the old Gospel hymns.¬† Thankfully, the church where I now attend has not discarded the old favorites, although we do have contemporary praise music as well.¬† But there is nothing like the hymns, because so many of them teach as they sing—reinforcing the truths of Scripture, implanting these truths in our minds, challenging, encouraging, comforting us with every line.

Just a few of my favorites are:¬† “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (Joseph Scriven and Charles C. Converse), “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” (Helen Howarth Lemmel), and of course John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” which, according to my wishes and depending on God’s will,¬†is scheduled to¬†be played by a bagpiper in kilts at my Going Home Celebration;¬† I have my Celtic heritage to thank for that desire.

My paternal grandfather was a Congregational preacher who loved the Lord Jesus with all his might.¬†¬†I know that my grandparents’ witness and prayers were among the many factors which God used to draw me to Himself.¬† Grandpa Longenecker loved¬†hymns.¬† In his last years on earth he played through his hymnbook on his violin, nearly every day.

I can still picture Grandpa fiddling away.  Sometimes he would pause, rest his violin on his knee, and preach at me about the coming glory when he would be face to face with the Lord.  At the time, I was a clueless teen-ager thinking about the coming high-school dance (or my coming violin recital) rather than the Lord.

But the shine on Grandpa’s face was not lost to me.¬† His face literally glowed when he talked about the Lord—and his snappy, deep brown eyes sparkled.¬† If I’d been into musing beyond dances and recitals in those days, I might have wondered about the shine and the sparkle!¬† To me¬†he was just “Grandpa”.¬† But how I loved him!

Now, like Grandpa Longenecker, I play through my hymnal frequently—enjoying my favorites and occasionally trying a selection which is new to me.¬† But unlike Grandpa, I play the hymns on my piano.¬† A broken left arm and dislocated wrist curtailed my violin playing back in the 1990s—after I’d finally begun to retrieve some of the technical skills I’d put in storage for decades of raising a family and doing other things.¬† Meanwhile, I never put music per se in storage;¬† I’d kept right on singing and playing my piano through the years.

Today, at age eighty two, I simply do not sing like I once did—unless you call a one-octave tenor bass range “singing”.¬† At least you can call it a “joyful noise”.¬† But I can play my piano, and play I do.¬† It’s great therapy for the soul, as well as for arthritic fingers.¬† “Great is Thy Faithfulness!”

And often while playing I recall that cold Sunday many years ago, when I first heard hymns sung as if the singers really meant it.  The power of the hymn!

Hymnbook

Margaret L. Been — January 13, 2016

NOTE:  The above sunrise photo was taken in our front yard this very morning.  Too beautiful for words.  Fortunately I grabbed my I-Pad immediately and took pictures of the sunrise over our park.  Five minutes later, the colors had disappeared into normal morning daylight.  Lovely, but not so spectacular as those first moments of dawn.

 

 

 

 

 

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